How Long Does an Ear Infection Typically Last?

May 6, 2024

Ear infections are a common ailment. While they particularly affect young children, these infections can occur in people of all ages. They can be painful, disruptive, and often lead to concerns about how long they last. In this blog, we’ll explore the typical duration of an ear infection, factors that can influence its duration, and when it might be necessary to seek medical attention.

For a same-day ear infection diagnosis and treatment plan, visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Denver Cherry Creek. Our medical team specializes in treating patients of all ages– both in-person and via telemedicine. Simply walk-in or plan your visit in advance below!

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Ear Infection Causes and Symptoms

Ear infections occur when bacteria or viruses infect the middle ear, causing inflammation and fluid buildup behind the eardrum. This buildup of fluid can lead to symptoms such as ear pain and a feeling of pressure or dullness in the ear. The symptoms can vary from person to person depending on the severity of infection and the overall health of the individual affected. 

A few common ear infection symptoms include:

  • Ear pain
  • Feeling of pressure or fullness
  • Hearing difficulties
  • Drainage from ear
  • Fever
  • Headache

Understanding the Duration of an Ear Infection

The duration of an ear infection can vary depending on several factors, including the type of infection. Acute ear infections, which come on suddenly and often resolve on their own within a few days to a week, are the most common. On the other hand, chronic ear infections can last for weeks or months and may require medical intervention to resolve. Ear infections are more common in children, whose Eustachian tubes– the tubes that connect the middle ear to the back of the throat– are smaller and more prone to blockage. Young children may experience more frequent and longer-lasting infections compared to adults. Additionally, those with weakened immune systems of underlying health conditions can be more susceptible to recurrent or prolonged ear infections. 

In most cases, mild ear infections will resolve on their own without the need for medical treatment within a few days to a week. However, there are times when seeking medical attention is necessary.

When To Seek Medical Attention 

If you or your child experiences severe or persistent ear pain, fever, or hearing loss, it’s important to seek a proper medical evaluation. If you experience frequent or recurrent ear infections, your healthcare provider may recommend further evaluation to identify underlying causes and develop a suitable treatment plan. Ear infections can lead to complications if left improperly treated. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention for any concerning symptoms, especially if you experience any signs of complications. If the infection is bacterial in nature, a medical provider can prescribe antibiotics to clear the bacteria and treat the infection. In addition, you can use OTC pain relievers, warm compresses, and ear drops to alleviate discomfort.

Get Walk-In Ear Infection Treatment at AFC Urgent Care Denver Cherry Creek

Are you or someone you know dealing with an ear infection? Come visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Denver Cherry Creek for same-day ear infection treatment. Our team of board-certified medical providers are available seven days a week to provide exceptional urgent care services to all patients in the Denver, CO area. We can evaluate your symptoms, provide appropriate treatment, and help you manage your condition effectively. Appointments are not required– simply stop by during operating hours to start recovering fast. We accept most health insurance plans and offer cost-effective options for self-paying patients. If you have any additional questions about ear infection treatment, or other services we provide, please contact our medical team directly at (303) 692-8000.

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