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Earaches usually occur in children, but they can occur in adults as well. An earache may affect one or both ears, but the majority of the time it is in one ear. It may be constant or come and go, and the pain may be dull, sharp, or burning.
If you have an ear infection, fever and temporary hearing loss may occur. Young children who have ear infections tend to be fussy and irritable. They may also tug at or rub their ears.
Injury, infection, irritation in the ear, or referred pain may cause earaches. Referred pain is pain that is felt somewhere other than the site of the infection or injury. Pain that originates in the jaw or teeth may be felt in the ear.
Common causes of earaches include:
Less common causes of earaches include:
There are several steps you can take at home to reduce earache pain. They include:
If you or your child has a persistent fever of 104ºF or higher, seek medical attention. For an infant, seek medical help immediately for a fever higher than 101ºF. You should also seek immediate medical attention if you have severe pain that stops suddenly. This can be a sign of the eardrum rupturing.
You should also watch for other symptoms. If these symptoms appear, make an appointment with your doctor:
If an earache gets worse or does not improve in 24 to 48 hours, make an appointment with your doctor.
If you have an ear infection, your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics or eardrops. In some cases, he or she will prescribe both. It is important that you finish your prescription. This ensures that the infection will clear up completely. Do not just stop taking medication once your symptoms improve.
If the buildup of wax is causing your ear pain, you may be given wax-softening eardrops. This may cause the wax to fall out on its own. Your doctor may also flush out the wax using a process called ear lavage, or he or she may use a vacuum-suction device to remove the wax.
Your doctor will treat TMJ, sinus infections, and other causes of earaches directly. This should improve your ear pain.
Some earaches may be preventable. Preventive measures include:
Written by: Janelle Martel
Published on: Sep 15, 2015on: Sep 15, 2015
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