Earaches are more common in children, especially those under the age of five. However, they can occur in adults too. At the Family Care Centers Medical Group, we offer quality care and treatment for earaches and infections, which is why a growing number of parents in Orange County, CA, trust our team of skilled medical providers to provide solutions for their family’s ear problems.
At Family Care Centers’ urgent care clinics in Irvine, Fountain Valley, and Costa Mesa, we offer:
- Services DAILY (for Costa Mesa, it’s Monday through Friday)
- Online reservations to reduce wait time
- On-site lab and X-ray for in-depth diagnosis
- Certified, well-trained, & experienced providers
- Friendly & compassionate staff
- Virtual visits also available
- Free parking
Possible Reasons for Your Earache
An earache can be dull, acute, or burning. They can be intermittent or constant and can occur in one or both of your ears. Some of the common causes of an earache include:
- Ear Infections: These can occur in your inner, outer, and middle ear, causing a watery or pus-like discharge from your ear.
- Damage to the ear: This occurs due to injuries to the inside of the ear. These are often caused if you poke an earbud too far into the ear or scrape earwax using a cotton bud. This can potentially puncture your eardrum.
- The buildup of earwax: Earwax accumulated in your ear or something stuck inside your ear can cause ear pain.
- Throat infections: An earache can be a symptom of sore throat caused by throat infections such as tonsillitis.
- Dental abscess: Ear pain can also indicate a dental abscess, a bacterial infection where pus builds up in your teeth or gums.
- Referred pain: Referred pain occurs when pain is felt somewhere other than the site of the infection or injury, e.g., an earache triggered by a pain originating in your jaw.
How to Identify If Your Child Might Have an Ear Infection
Ear infections can be difficult to identify in children. If your child is suffering from an ear infection, they may not be able to really tell you what’s happening to them; however, there are a couple of symptoms you can watch out for in order to understand that your child may be suffering from an ear infection:
- High temperature (fever)
- Irritability or restlessness, especially at night
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty in hearing
- Rubbing or pulling their ear
- Cough or a runny nose
When Should You Seek Care for an Ear Infection?
You don’t always need medical attention if you or a loved one is experiencing an earache. Common causes of mild ear pain which may not be due to a medical problem include sleeping on a hard surface, tight headwear, ill-fitting headphones, ear piercings, or teeth grinding.
You must seek immediate care if you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms:
- A persistent fever
- Something stuck in an ear
- Ear pain that does not improve within 2-3 days
- Swelling around the ear
- Bloody or pus-like discharge oozing from the ear
- Severe headaches or dizziness
How We Diagnose and Treat Ear Pain and Infections
To diagnose an ear infection, a healthcare provider will require information about your symptoms and conduct a physical exam using an otoscope.
Once the cause of your ear pain is determined, you will be treated accordingly, depending on your age and the severity of the condition. Types of treatment include:
- Antibiotics: If a bacterial infection causes your earache, antibiotics may be required to treat it. We will prescribe the antibiotics based on your age, the severity of the pain, and whether you are allergic to certain antibiotics or not. It’s important to ensure that you finish the entire prescription, even if your symptoms improve, to ascertain that the infection clears up completely.
- Wait and Watch: This is used particularly in the case of children. Their condition will be evaluated to determine whether immediate medication is needed or to wait to see if the pain subsides on its own.
- Discomfort Management: Our healthcare providers may advise you to try placing a warm, moist compress over the affected ear or provide pain medication to alleviate the earache.
Risks of an Untreated Ear Infection
You do not always need to seek medical help for mild to moderate earache symptoms. However, we highly recommend getting professional medical care in cases where symptoms are serious or persist. That’s because there could be several underlying causes for your earache, and at times chronic ear infections could cause severe conditions and even hearing loss. If left untreated, ear infections can lead to serious complications such as:
- Hearing loss can occur if the infections are recurrent or never completely heal. For most patients, hearing loss is temporary.
- Mastoiditis is an infection of the mastoid bone located just behind the ears. This condition needs to be diagnosed and treated quickly, or else it can lead to serious complications such as meningitis and brain abscess.
- Meningitis is an infection that leads to the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes. It can be fatal if it is left untreated.
- A brain abscess is an infection that causes pus to build up in the brain.
- Ruptured eardrums can happen due to pressure and fluid buildup in the middle ear. In most cases, this condition heals within 2-3 weeks.
- Facial paralysis is a condition where the muscles of one or both sides of the face get paralyzed due to nerve damage.
If you are suffering from persistent ear pain along with other symptoms like fever, imbalance, headache or dizziness, and blood or pus discharge from your ear, you can visit our clinic to get diagnosed and treated. We cover a spectrum of treatments, including otitis externa treatment and middle ear infection treatment. Our urgent care clinics are located in Irvine, Fountain Valley, and Costa Mesa. Call us to book an appointment or reserve your spot online by clicking on the button in the location boxes below!
Reserve Your Spot at One of Our Urgent Care Locations
4950 Barranca Pkwy, Suite 104
Irvine, CA 92604
Monday - Friday : 8AM - 8PM
Saturday - Sunday : 8AM - 5PM
18785 Brookhurst Street, Suite 101
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Monday - Friday : 8AM - 8PM
Saturday - Sunday : 8AM - 5PM
1190 Baker Street, Suite 100
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Monday - Friday : 8AM - 5PM
Saturday - Sunday : Closed