Ear infection treatment available online today

In order to treat your ear infection, consult with one of our board-certified telehealth doctors today to learn if antibiotics are needed to clear up your infection. Get a new prescription to treat your ear infection if needed, or refill an existing prescription today.*

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Manage ear infection symptoms online

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Same-day appointments to evaluate ear infection symptoms*

*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor's discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how to save up to 80% with our prescription discount card. PlushCare doctors cannot treat all cases of ear infections. Our primary care physicians can conduct an initial evaluation of your symptoms but may need to refer you to a specialist or for in-person treatment. If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Learn about ear infections

The most common ear infection is the middle ear infection, referred to medically as acute otitis media. which refers to a sudden infection in the middle ear. Although less common, ear infections can also occur in the inner ear or outer ear.

Middle ear infection (acute otitis media)

The middle ear is the area behind the eardrum. A middle ear infection often involves a buildup of fluid and mucus behind the eardrum. Another condition that affects the middle ear is otitis media with effusion, which refers to fluid buildup in the middle ear without an infection. Otitis media with effusion can result from a middle ear infection if fluid lingers after the infection. Acute otitis media often only lasts a few days.

Inner ear infection (labyrinthitis)

The inner ear is the area including the cochlea. The cochlea, along with the vestibular system, are responsible for balance. Therefore, an inner ear infection can cause issues relating to balance such as vertigo or trouble balancing. Inner ear infections can last months.

Outer ear infection (otitis externa)

Outer ear infections can last for weeks. Sometimes referred to as swimmer’s ear, this condition is often caused by water remaining in the ear. The outer ear canal is the area that runs from the eardrum to the side of the head.

Ear infection causes

  • Ear infection causes

    One of the most common ear infection causes is a blockage of the eustachian tube, the tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. If there is a blockage, the particles that can cause an infection are more likely to be trapped in the middle ear.

    Ear infections happen due to a viral or bacterial infection. Depending on the cause, ear infections are treated differently. A viral ear infection may occur as a result of a viral cold, and a bacterial ear infection is commonly caused by bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae.

Ear infection symptoms

    • Sharp and sudden ear pain or dull and continuous ear pain

    • A sharp stabbing pain with immediate warm discharge from the ear canal

    • Feeling like your ear is clogged

    • Reduced hearing

    • Fever

Treatment for ear infection

For bacterial ear infections, the typical treatment is a course of antibiotics. Viral ear infections often resolve on their own, but over the counter pain relievers and other medications can be taken to ease symptoms and relieve pain.

Ear infection medication

For bacterial ear infections, antibiotics can be extremely effective. Some of these include:

How to prevent ear infections

Risk factors for ear infections include having an upper respiratory infection, allergic rhinitis, a mucosal disease such as sinusitis, a weakened immune system, dysfunctional eustachian tubes, or a family history of ear infections.

Following basic hygiene practices like frequent hand washing and wearing a mask can help you avoid catching a bacterial or viral infection that causes ear infections, from someone else. Frequently putting objects such as q-tips in the ear may expose the ears to bacteria that could cause an infection.

Smoking and poor air quality may also be risk factors that could contribute to ear infections.

When to see a doctor for an ear infection

If you or your child is experiencing severe ear infection symptoms or the symptoms last longer than a few days, it is important to seek medical attention from a doctor immediately. These severe symptoms include, but are not limited to, a fever higher than 102°F, fluids or discharge coming out of the ear, or hearing loss.

Ear infection treatment FAQs

  • Do ear infections go away without treatment?

    Viral ear infections typically go away on their own, and their treatment is geared towards symptom management, including options like taking over-the-counter pain relievers for pain management. Bacterial infections, however, will require antibiotics to kill the infection. In order to determine which type of ear infection you have, you must consult with a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

  • Are ear infections contagious?

    Ear infections are not contagious. However, the viral and bacterial infections that cause ear infections are contagious.

  • How long does an ear infection last?

    The most common type of ear infection, a middle ear infection, can last anywhere from a week to two weeks, with proper treatment. Bacterial ear infections treated with antibiotics typically improve in a matter of days. Inner ear infections typically last longer. Ear infections are considered chronic when they last over six weeks.

    The three areas your ear can become infected are the inner ear, middle ear, and outer ear:

    Inner ear infections tend to last the longest, with symptoms often persisting for several months. Middle ear infections shouldn’t last more than one or two days. Outer ear infections can last for a week or longer.

  • What is the best antibiotic for an ear infection?

    The best antibiotic for an ear infection depends on the person. The most common antibiotics our doctors prescribe for ear infections are Amoxicillin, Keflex (cephalexin), Augmentin (amoxicillin and clavulanate), and Bactrim DS (sulfamethoxazole trimethoprim).

  • How do you get rid of an ear infection fast?

    The fastest way to get rid of an ear infection is to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. There are several types of ear infection, each with different treatment methods. If you do not know what type of infection you have, your treatment may not be working and your infection could be prolonged. You can get a same-day diagnosis from one of our trusted, board-certified doctors online. They can also prescribe you the proper medication. The average appointment can be booked in the next 15 minutes.

  • What over the counter medicine is available for hemorrhoids (piles)?

    While there's no magic OTC cures for painful hemorrhoid (piles) symptoms, several over-the-counter options from your local pharmacy can help manage symptoms and provide temporary relief.

    Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help manage pain and discomfort. Witch hazel pads or wipes can provide a soothing, astringent effect that helps reduce irritation and itching. Constipation can worsen hemorrhoids, so stool softeners like Colace (docusate) can ease bowel movements and reduce straining.

    For long-term relief, it's important to talk to a doctor. A doctor can diagnose the type and severity of your hemorrhoids and recommend the most effective treatment plan. This might include prescription medications or minimally invasive procedures for severe cases. Your doctor will also help identify any underlying issues that are contributing to your hemorrhoids.

  • What ear infection medicine is available over the counter?

    Over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol can help manage the pain and discomfort of ear infections. Most ear infections are mild and resolve on their own within a few days. However, it's important to see a doctor and get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

    Earaches can have many different causes, including allergies, swimmer's ear (otitis externa), and middle ear infection (otitis media). A doctor can perform a physical examination and potentially use an otoscope to see inside your ear and determine the underlying cause. The right treatment depends on the cause. For example, bacterial ear infections require antibiotics, while swimmer's ear might benefit from ear drops with drying agents or steroids. Over-the-counter medications cannot treat these infections.

    Getting early diagnosis and treatment can help shorten the course of the infection, minimize discomfort, and prevent potential complications. Untreated ear infections can become serious and lead to hearing loss, spread of the infection, or cause speech and developmental delays in children. A doctor will help gauge the severity of your symptoms and determine whether a prescription for antibiotics is needed.

    Seeing a doctor online is a convenient and affordable option. Our board-certified physicians are available 24/7 for consultations.

3 simple steps to request treatment for an ear infection online

Step 1

Book an appointment to request treatment for an ear infection.

Book a same day appointment from anywhere.

Step 2

Talk to your medical provider regarding your ear infection symptoms.

Visit with a doctor on your smartphone or computer.

Step 3

Pick up a prescription to treat ear infections.

We can send prescriptions to any local pharmacy.

Related conditions to ear infections

Ear infection treatment pricing details

How pricing works

To request ear infection treatment and get a new or refill on your prescription, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

Paying with insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
    • Cigna

Paying without insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

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If we're unable to treat you, we'll provide a full refund.


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PlushCare content is reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Learn more about our editorial standards and meet the medical team. The PlushCare site or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.