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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

How long until ear infection starts to heal, without antibiotics?

(32 Posts)
SitsOnFence Fri 29-Jan-16 21:06:29

DD's eardrum ruptured a week ago today, after 2 days of earache/high temp/no appetite (which was preceded by another 2 days of just high temp/no appetite). Since the eardrum ruptured most of her daytime pain has gone, although she still finds laying down very painful, so night time is still rather fraught. Her ear intermittently drips a sort of a thin yellowy/green sticky snot.

We've seen a nurse (when it first ruptured) and spoken to another two nurses by phone, all who have reassured us that it's a perfectly normal viral ear infection and will clear by itself without antibiotics. Which I am very happy about.

However, one thing troubles me: each nurse has given me an entirely different prognosis. Nurse 1 (pre-rupture) said to wait it out but call back and get an emergency appointment "if there's something coming out of it" as that would require antibiotics. Nurse 2 (post rupture) said nurse 1 was mistaken, and that it would heal naturally within a week. Nurse 3 (today, 1 week later) said nurse 2 was mistaken, and it would heal naturally in its own time, and to make an appointment when it had stopped leaking, so that they could check it was healing properly. Said it was pointless to come in before then as they cannot see the eardrum.

If I'd spoken to nurse 3 first, I wouldn't be worried, especially since she has slowly regained her appetite and her temperature is almost back to normal. However, I have mild hearing loss as a result of repeated childhood infections, so the inconsistency worries me more than it usually would!

DD is 5, btw, and has had very mild hearing loss since Christmas caused by suspected glue ear. I would think that's probably why her viral infection set up home in her ear!

Please all come and tell me how it will get better soon, and I'm worrying unnecessarily!

SitsOnFence Fri 29-Jan-16 21:06:54

Gosh, that was a long post. Sorry blush

CharmingChampignon Fri 29-Jan-16 21:11:04

Dd now 6 has recurrent ear infections and has always been given antibiotics for perforations. Her last episode was 10 days ago and GP reviewed today and it's all healed.

Dontlaugh Fri 29-Jan-16 21:11:55

Anything green or yellow dripping out of any orifice has always required antibiotics in my children. Doesn't answer the question though, sorry!

Naughty1205 Fri 29-Jan-16 21:12:07

Tbh I think a course of anti biotics wouldn't go astray at this rate, it's been going on a while. I know nurses said it's viral but my dd suffered so much with recurring ear infections that were viral but if they went on too long dr would then prescribe antibiotics just in case there was a bit of an infection there. Might be worth a try, sounds awfully painful for your dd

SitsOnFence Fri 29-Jan-16 21:16:12

Hmm, thanks for the replies. I will push for an emergency appointment on Monday. No chance of seeing a GP, sadly, seems to be a thing of the past in our practice!

Fizrim Fri 29-Jan-16 21:18:01

DD had this a couple of times, they swabbed the discharge and prescribed antibiotics (when the results came through, which took days!). It took two courses of antibiotics each time to clear the infection because of the delayed start IMO

Hope it clears up for her soon.

HoggleHoggle Fri 29-Jan-16 21:23:17

I had a perforated eardrum and was prescribed antibiotics. It was one of the worst pains of my life but cleared up fairly quickly once starting ABs. To be honest, I'd be pushing for them at this stage. Can you try ooh gp over the weekend?

AlmaMartyr Fri 29-Jan-16 21:23:44

DS and I are both very prone to ear infections and have always had antibiotics when there's a perforation. Hope your DD feels better soon smile

Stars1 Fri 29-Jan-16 21:24:50

My DD had infection and perforated ear drum when she was about 6/7 and I'm sure anti biotics were given due to the yellow fluid coming out.

She had to go back for check up once clear and we were advised not to fly within 6 weeks of perforation. I'm not sure if that still applies but worth asking if you are planning a trip soon.

SitsOnFence Fri 29-Jan-16 21:27:26

Out of hours was how I managed to get the phone appointment with nurse 1 and the actual appointment with nurse 2 (the one we saw after the eardrum ruptured) as our local surgery has nothing available. I hate the idea of tying up the service for others, but then I also hate the idea that I might be doing the wrong thing for DD. I think I'll phone and ask tomorrow.

SitsOnFence Fri 29-Jan-16 21:28:24

We're due to fly 6th March shocksad

EffieIsATrinket Fri 29-Jan-16 21:28:58

NICE recommends an ABx under these circumstances.

EffieIsATrinket Fri 29-Jan-16 21:31:01!scenario

EffieIsATrinket Fri 29-Jan-16 21:32:09

And I disagree that a perforation is likely to heal in a week or so. I'd follow up 3-4 weeks later keeping ear dry in the meantime.

Fayrazzled Fri 29-Jan-16 21:32:19

My daughter had antibiotics when her er drum perforated. The doctor also wanted to see her (?2 weeks) later to check the ear was healing correctly.

NickNacks Fri 29-Jan-16 21:32:36

DD is also a recurrent sufferer and she's also given Abs every time.

Fayrazzled Fri 29-Jan-16 21:33:00

It might have been after 4 weeks the doctor wanted to see her. I know she missed a few swimming lessons....

SitsOnFence Fri 29-Jan-16 21:39:08

Thanks for the link EffieIsATrinket, and for everyone's replies. It's been very helpful. I shall phone OOH tomorrow and explain that her ear has been leaking for 8 days and is still painful enough to wake her repeatedly through the night. I shall mention the NICE guidelines if necessary! I would genuinely rather avoid them, but not at the expense of her hearing.

As a side note, does anyone know anything more about flying whilst the ear drum is healing? Google gives mixed results...

Rshard Fri 29-Jan-16 21:45:26

I suffered repeated ear infections as a child as well as perforations. I still suffer with them as a 41 year old! The resulting scar tissue has contributed to a moderate hearing loss that I now wear hearing aids for. I'd never leave an ear infection. Hope she feels better soon

AnotherTimeMaybe Sat 30-Jan-16 10:55:23

OP she needs to see a doc really
Can you take her to a&e?
If they treat it now it should be fine to fly in March, if you leave it later maybe not
When both DC had to glue ears they told me to wait couple of weeks before flying

AnotherTimeMaybe Sat 30-Jan-16 10:55:46

Sorry meant glue earn operations

AnotherTimeMaybe Sat 30-Jan-16 10:57:08

Ear not earn angry typing while bfing doesn't seem to work!

SitsOnFence Sat 30-Jan-16 11:08:25

Well, I spoke to our GP surgery (which is open on a Saturday morning as it happens, who knew?!) They couldn't/wouldn't see her today and said that OOH wouldn't see her either, but did magically find us an appointment for Monday.

Not exactly the outcome I was hoping for, but it will have to do.

DD is happily playing Minecraft doing something educational and only woke once last night for painkillers. Ear is still ouzing though.

We're only seeing a nurse on Monday, but it's the prescribing nurse <wonders if doctors still exist in the NHS>

Graceymac Sat 30-Jan-16 20:29:30

My dds both have suffered numerous perforations and have always been prescribed antibiotics. It doesn't sound as though your dds infection is resolving. I have been told discharge is never normal and should be treated. Occasionally when dds ears are a little red I have been advised to wait 72 hrs as most inflammation resolves by itself but not when there is a perforation. My dds are under ENT and the consultant always prescribes ear drops as well as oral antibiotics.

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