Do you have a fever with an ear infection?

Have you ever woken up and felt the sensation of your ear being filled with pudding? Congratulations, you have an ear infection! But wait…do you also feel hot? Sweaty? Like you’ve been sunbathing in the middle of Death Valley for 12 hours straight? That’s right, my friend, those are fever symptoms.

But do all cases of ear infections come accompanied by a fever? Should you really be worried if your temperature rises after getting an infection on your ear canal from playing Indiana Jones with a Q-tip?

Let’s dive into this topic and find out!

What is an Ear Infection?

Before we even start talking about fevers, let’s clarify what exactly is happening when our ears get infected.

Imagine that someone has poured honey inside your car gears. That would probably make them grind more than usual, producing some uncomfortable noises. Well, kind of the same thing happens when we get a middle or outer-ear infection: bacteria or viruses mess around with our delicate machinery (ears) making it vulnerable to inflammation.

That swelling can cause pain (sometimes severe), discharge and temporary hearing loss. Not the most enjoyable situation to experience by any means!

Why Do We Get Ear Infections Anyway?

Ear infections are pretty common in little humans – as many parents out there might know -, but adults can also suffer from these unpleasant adventures.

The root cause varies between people – but here are some possible reasons why one might end up googling “how to cure an infected ear” at 4am:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections like colds
  • Allergies
  • Smoking/vaping
  • Eustachian tube problems
  • Changes in air pressure (hello flying allergies)

All those seemingly unrelated issues may create the perfect storm for bacterial overgrowth (yuck) leading to that unwanted A-word: Acute otitis media, aka ear infection.

Do You Have a Fever with an Ear Infection?

Since we’ve defined what causes an ear infection let’s move to the burning question: do you have a fever when your ears get infected?

The answer is – unfortunately – not as straightforward as one would hope.

The Middle-Ear Infection And It’s Tendency To Love A Good Fever

Let me just say first and foremost that normally someone experiencing acute middle-ear infections (otitis media) will often report having a high temperature ranging from 100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (someone pass me some ice).

Why? Basic biology really:

Inflammation in our body can be caused by numerous things, such as allergens or toxins (did you know plants feel pain thanks to those very same chemicals?). When inflammation inevitably happens however, cytokines are produced by white blood cells (the good guys throwing down with bacteria). Cytokine triggers the hypothalamus of our brain (the guy who sets rules for other brain-parts) which ultimately raises our basal temperature. Voilá! We got ourselves a fever party started!

Outer-Ear infections And Their Chill Fevers

Outer-ear infections (aka swimmer’s/ surfer’s ear) are less prone to creating crazy fevers like their vicious fellow inner-middles do.

Although it is still common for patients to experience low-grade heat symptoms along with inflamed outer tissues, one typically won’t need sauna access or keep company with popsicles all days long because of it.

So if you suspect something like oedema aka swelling on your cartilage has ensued, rest assured knowing most probably you won’t roast alive alongside some smores due to any related fevers

Can I Be Sure That My Mild Symptoms Are Just An Ear-Infection Related Fever?

Now let’s imagine you’re suspicious regarding that temperature raising-thing but you’re not sure whether it’s a byproduct of your pus-filled ear or just seasonal allergies doing their annoying thing.

What can I Do?

Welp, glad we asked. For starters (it is never a bad idea to) keep calm and carry on – as feverish people still utilising British national mottos (go #teamparliament), have done for centuries now. This being said, there are some tests and tools one may utilise to determine the cause behind chills:

  • Blood test: A CBC (complete blood count) test will reveal if /how bad an infection has taken over your body
  • Otoscope inspection: Your healthcare provider can use this bionic with shining ears piece to examine if signs of inflammation might be present inside.
  • Thermometer inspection:No, I’m not messing with you! Take that thermometer device off the storage’s drawer and proceed accordingly, following basic guidelines – we won’t go into detail how NOT to do it 🙃

Remember though: unless you’re experiencing something like seeing halos around objects or start feeling hallucinatory sensations in general – despite all home remedies tried -, usually treating the affiliated symptom (fever) would suffice until symptoms fade away completely.

Treatment Options And The Fever Situation

Treating a pesky inner middle-or outer-ear infection isn’t as easy-breezy beautiful cover girl as it may seem at first glance.

The treatment varies depending on each individual case severity (yay uniqueness!). But for most cases doctor recommendations appear to fall under these categories:

Antibiotics To Rescue!

Let’s face it: antibiotics yield mixed results. They’re heavily commercialised anti-infection warriors meant to put up rules against our perceived enemies.Fight fire with fire, right?

True indeed, but things become more complex when those gram-negative/gram-positive microscopic opponents become resistant to antibiotics, leaving doctors scratching their heads in confusion.

Regardless of this stigma, penicillin is the most widely used and recommended antibiotic when dealing with otitis media cases around the world.

Natural Remedies And The Fever Factor

Apart from tablets or liquids (please avoid listing metallic spoons among them) there are quite some natural remedies which can come handy as well:

  • Garlic: Dracula’s worst nightmare garlic sounds like a human body’s dream come true (pungent smell aside): it has been shown to have antibacterial properties thus its juice applied on a cotton pad inserted into your ear for 20-30 minutes every once in awhile could have visible improvement effects.
  • Saltwater & oil treatments: Mixing warm water with salt for mouthwash use (someone care about Paul Bunyan) can also help relieve pain while coconut /almond oil work similarly when gently smoothed over outer earholes.
  • Tea tree oil – A great anti-inflammatory agent that helps soothe any swelling and lessen temporary hearing loss really quickly after being properly “diluted” (don’t go pure essential oils usage) first into other carrier oils prior application).

All these efforts may alleviate blunt fever symptoms but certainly won’t fully eradicate infection related fevers if taking place. Only proper infections control + medication lets you rest assured no odious bacteria will harm you anymore…or at least until next time!


What…are we done already? Maybe I should list more options here! Eh, turns out we’ve covered everything didn’t we?

So: do all people infected with an ear ache get affected by symptomatic fever along the way as well? NO – not necessarily.

Can one differentiate symptoms and determine the exact cause by measuring temperature only? Although tricky I gotta say – generally yes.

Regardless of your character’s symptoms choosing some natural remedies vs antibiotics or simply waiting out until improvement may equate to a better long-term outcome!

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