ZocdocAnswersIs it normal for ear infection pain to come and go?

Question

Is it normal for ear infection pain to come and go?

I think i may have an ear infection, i have not been to the doctor, it is day 3 and the pain comes and goes as it pleases. i have tried otc ear drops, tylonal, and sleeping it off when it hurts. i work in a nursing home so i have to be healthy but my pain affects my work when it shows up.

Answer

I suggest that you go see your primary care doctor about this issue, especially since the pain seems to be bothering you quite a bit and is interfering with your work. Given that you are an adult, the likelihood of this being an actual ear infection is quite low. True ear infections are much more common in children than in adults. What is more likely join on is that you have a collection of fluid behind the ear drum, which tends to occur because of clogging of the eustachian tubes which normally function to drain fluid from the ear into the back of the throat. Eustachian tube dysfunction, or clogging, typically occurs with an upper respiratory infection, but it can also occur with allergies or sinusitis. Your doctor can look in your ear and determine whether you have a true ear infection or just fluid behind the ear. If you do have an ear infection, they can prescribe an antibiotic for you. On the other hand, if this is just fluid behind the ear, then they can prescribe you medications to help with the pain and also to help open up and drain the eustachian tubes so that you you can start feeling better.

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

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