What to Do If You Have an Earache?

Having an earache can quickly derail your day depending on how severe it is. Medically known as otitis media, an earache or ear infection can cause a lot of pain and make it difficult to hear.

This is a common problem in children but can also occur in adults. Earaches are known to have many causes and can happen at any time, making them a common reason for a visit to urgent care.

If you’re wondering what to do about an earache, then keep reading. You’ll learn what causes an ear infection, how it’s treated, ways to ease the pain at home, and whether you should go to urgent care.

What Causes an Earache?

As mentioned, earaches can be caused by a variety of things. They may occur in one or both ears, but most commonly only one side is affected. Some of the most common causes of an earache are other illnesses.

Things like the common cold and sinus infections can cause fluid to build up in the middle ear, resulting in an infection. Allergies are another common cause for the same reason.

However, those aren’t the only causes. Things like dental problems, irritation caused by tobacco smoke, and a foreign body being stuck in the ear canal can also cause an earache. Finally, an ear infection can be caused by water that gets trapped in the inner ear after swimming, showering, or bathing.

What are the Symptoms of an Earache?

As the name suggests, the most common symptom of an earache is pain in the ear. Most commonly, this is a dull, throbbing pain. However, it can also be more intense depending on the severity of the infection.

Other symptoms that tend to go along with an ear infection include muffled hearing, a lack of balance, a fever, and drainage from the ear. Children who are unable to communicate their symptoms may frequently touch or tug on their ears and will likely be very irritable.

How to Treat an Earache at Home

Unfortunately, treating an earache isn’t always straightforward. Determining the proper treatment depends on what is causing the problem in the first place. For instance, an earache caused by a bacterial infection needs to be addressed with antibiotics while one that’s caused by smoke exposure or allergies wouldn’t respond well to that treatment.

Fortunately, there are some ways to handle an earache at home. Pain caused by an earache can be treated with a mild pain reliever like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and a fever can be managed with acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Additionally, you can try to lay down with the affected ear on a warm (not hot) heating pad or warm rag. If that doesn’t help, try using a cold rag instead. When you aren’t doing this, try to remain sitting up as this can help your ear drain and relieve some of the pressure. Sleeping in the upright position may help as well.

Should I Go to Urgent Care for an Earache?

Most earaches get better on their own within two or three days. However, some will require more advanced treatment. If your symptoms aren’t improving after a few days, or if they get noticeably worse in a short period of time, it’s probably a good idea to visit the doctor.

Urgent care is a great place to go when you have an earache since the problem can be addressed quickly and you’ll get the proper treatment on-site.

You should also immediately visit the doctor if you have severe ear pain that suddenly stops as this can indicate a ruptured eardrum. The same is true if you have a high fever or if you think an object may be stuck in your ear.

Velocity Urgent Care Has Your Back

If you or your child is suffering from an earache, Velocity Urgent Care is here to help. Our providers will perform a thorough assessment to determine what is causing your earache so it can be treated appropriately. We can prescribe medications like antibiotics and pain relievers on-site, saving you a trip to your primary care doctor.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or testing.

Don’t put your health at risk by waiting to seek out treatment!

Velocity Urgent Care offers convenient online registration that helps you limit your contact with others during a visit. Patients who register online receive text message updates as it approaches their time to be seen, enabling them to choose where they want to wait.

Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.

To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.