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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
An earache can be caused by a problem within your ear or from another body area. Common causes include earwax buildup, objects in your ear, injury, infections, or jaw or dental problems. Less often, earaches may be caused by arthritis in your upper spine.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have a severe earache.
- You have ear pain with itching, hearing loss, dizziness, a feeling of fullness in your ear, or ringing in your ears.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your ear pain worsens or does not go away with treatment.
- You have drainage from your ear.
- You have a fever.
- Your outer ear becomes red, swollen, and warm.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.