ZocdocAnswersWhy do you get fluid in your ears?

Question

Why do you get fluid in your ears?

How do you get fluid in your ears? Is it from a bad cold? I just have heard some horror stories about ear fluid and ear infections and I want to make sure I never get fluid in my ears.

Answer

It does indeed sound like you have heard about people with some bad outcomes from ear infections! The good news is that so-called 'fluid in the ears' is not something that just happens independently. As you indicate, fluid buildup generally only happens in the setting of an upper respiratory infection and ear infection. If you start noticing fevers, ear pain, cough, trouble breathing, sinus congestion or pressure, or a runny nose, you should definitely see your doctor right away. He or she can evaluate you and provide any treatment that might be needed for a developing ear or sinus infection. Hopefully that will help you avoid developing the kind of severe infections that can lead to trouble with the ears. You should also feel free to discuss your questions with your primary care doctor. He or she can answer your questions as well as help you make sure you are up to date on all of your regular health maintenance. If you have not gotten a flu shot this year, that is definitely something you can do to minimize your chance of getting sick this winter. In addition, making sure you get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and maintain a healthy diet and exercise habits can also help your immune system stay in top shape.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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