Ear infections seem to come on quickly. Whether you've spent a weekend swimming on the Georgia coast or you're fighting a nasty summer cold, don't be surprised if bacteria makes its way to your inner ear and causes an infection. The symptoms of this painful condition actually creep up slowly and can easily be missed. Do you know what to look for?
- Another sleepless night. Before the pain sets in you might notice trouble sleeping accompanied by a feeling of fullness in the ears and difficulty hearing. Sometimes this sensation is confused with having a little leftover pool water in your ears after swimming. Use ear plugs when swimming to avoid getting bacteria or water in your ears.
- Ear drainage on your pillow. If you wake up with a few wet spots on your pillow--and you used ear drops after swimming to dry out your ears--you may have an infection. Early infections may exude a clear, watery discharge. A more advanced infection may appear slightly green or yellow with a thicker texture. Take note of the amount and color of the discharge and relay the information to a doctor.
- A queasy stomach. While relaxing your stomach may seem a little off. This sensation is brought about from the swelling in your ears making you feel unbalanced, which can cause nausea and dizziness. Sit down and avoid driving. If a little rest doesn't ease your symptoms, you need to seek medical help.
- Facial pain, including your ears. Pain from an ear infection doesn't usually originate in the ears. Since the Eustachian tubes which run from your ears to your nasal passages and behind your throat become swollen, you may notice pain in your sinuses, nasal cavity and cheeks, or extra mucus production, according to the Mayo Clinic. Finally, the most common symptom is pain in the ears. The discomfort can range from a light throbbing pain to a sharp, stabbing sensation.
If you think you have an ear infection, call an Atlanta doctor and schedule a professional examination. A simple prescription antibiotic can alleviate the pain within a few days and heal the infection.