Middle Ear Fluid: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Picture of the anatomy of the ear and of the middle ear

Fluid often builds up inside the ear during a cold or allergies. Usually the fluid drains away, but sometimes a small tube in the ear, called the eustachian tube, stays blocked for months.

Symptoms of fluid buildup may include:

  • Popping, ringing, or a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear.
  • Trouble hearing.
  • Balance problems and dizziness.

In most cases, you can treat yourself at home.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • In most cases, the fluid clears up within a few months without treatment. You may need more tests if the fluid does not clear up after 3 months.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have pain or a fever.
  • You have any new symptoms, such as hearing problems.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: July 29, 2016