Can Ear Infections Cause Fevers?

Have you noticed that tagging along with your ear infection was a fever? Although high-grade fevers can be frightening, all fevers are simply caused by your body’s attempt at fighting off infection. Viruses, bacteria, toxins, and other conditions are not supposed to be in the body. When the immune system fights back, fevers can result. So, yes, ear infections commonly cause fevers.

AFC Urgent Care Waltham provides treatment for many illnesses. Our providers can prescribe medication for all symptoms, including bacteria and fevers.

Ear Infection Symptoms

The symptoms of ear infections are the same in both adults in children, although young children tend to show them differently. Since infants cannot tell their parents what is bothering them, they can watch out for some cues. In infants, be on the lookout for:

  • Tugging on the ear
  • Fussing
  • Unable to sleep well
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Drainage
  • A negative change in hearing

For adults, symptoms of an ear infection include:

  • Ear pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritable
  • Poor sleep
  • Fever
  • Ear drainage
  • Difficulty hearing

While the presence of one of the above symptoms does not mean you are dealing with an infection, it can be a good idea to get it checked out by a doctor for confirmation.

Causes of an Ear Infection

An ear infection can start on the tail end of a different infection in the body. Since the ears and throat are connected, it is relatively easy for the bacteria or virus to travel from the nose and throat to the ear. When the germs reach the eustachian tube, swelling can occur. The swelling then prevents the ear from draining as it needs, thus resulting in a build-up of fluid. The fluid trapped within the middle ear can become a breeding ground for infection.

Treating Symptoms

There are three options for treating the symptoms of an ear infection. Many choose to treat at home with an over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer, such as acetaminophen. This is often acceptable for adults, and the ear infection will heal over time. However, infants with an ear infection are typically prescribed an antibiotic quickly to prevent further damages.

In older children and adults, an ear infection will likely be left alone for a few days to see if there is improvement without antibiotics. If no improvement is seen, antibiotics can destroy the bacteria causing the infection. Doctors do not immediately prescribe antibiotics for an ear infection in adults because it is not always a bacterial infection.

If your child experiences many ear infections, they may require tubes to be placed in their ears for better drainage. The tubes are temporary, lasting no more than a year. Chronic ear infections can be stopped with ear tubes. Contact your child’s doctor if they have had numerous ear infections in the past year.