(HealthDayNews) -- If you develop an ear infection, don't be too quick to ask your doctor for an antibiotic.
As many as 80 percent of ear infections clear up on their own, says the Washington State Department of Health.
If you do get an ear infection you should:
- Drink more water.
- Rest in order to allow your body to fight the infection.
- Press a warm wash cloth or heating pad on low setting against your sore ear.
- Taking a decongestant may help. Don't take an antihistamine.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve pain.
You should call your doctor if an earache lasts more than 12 hours or if you experience severe pain. You should also call the doctor if you suspect an infant or young child has an ear infection, if an infant or toddler rubs or pulls on an ear and seems to be in pain, and if the child also has a fever.