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What does an ear infection feel like?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Have you or your child ever had an ear infection? They’re quite common and usually caused by bacteria or viruses entering the middle ear, leading to inflammation and discomfort. By age three, about three out of four kids will have had at least one. Even adults can get them, especially if they have allergies or sinus issues.

Several factors contribute to ear infections. The structure of the Eustachian tube plays a big role, especially in children, where it’s shorter and more horizontal, making it easier for germs to enter. Respiratory infections like colds can also increase the risk, along with exposure to smoke or being in places where viruses spread easily.

Symptoms of ear infection

Experiencing an ear infection can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Understanding the symptoms and how they feel can help you recognise when you or your loved ones might have an ear infection.

The main symptoms of ear infections include: 

  • Ear pain ranging from a dull ache to sharp & intense, which feels like a build up of pressure or fullness inside your ear

  • You might notice smelly clear, yellow, or even bloody fluid draining from your ear

  • You may have a fever (a temperature of 38c or above) 

  • You might notice muffled or decreased hearing in the affected ear

  • You may find it difficult to sleep, causing you to feel irritable and restless

  • In some cases, you may feel dizzy or experience vertigo (feeling like you’re spinning or whirling even when you’re standing still)

Frequently asked questions about ear infections

What are the common symptoms of an ear infection?

Common symptoms of an ear infection include ear pain, drainage from the ear, fever, trouble sleeping, and difficulty hearing.

How does an ear infection feel?

An ear infection can feel like ear pain, pressure, or fullness, along with possible drainage, fever, and trouble hearing.

When should I see a pharmacist for an ear infection?

It’s important to see a pharmacist if you think you have an ear infection, they can give you a proper diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment.

Think you might have an ear infection?

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What is Pharmacy First?

Pharmacy First is a new NHS-funded scheme that helps you quickly get the advice & treatment you need from a pharmacy, without needing to see a GP.

The conditions covered by Pharmacy First are:

Video consultations & advice are free of charge. If you pay for prescriptions you will be charged the prescription rate of £9.65 per prescription item.