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A 57-year-old female asked:

How does one tell if an ear infection is viral or bacterial?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bryan Levey
Pediatrics 29 years experience
Sometimes difficult: Your doctor has to gauge according to the history you provide, what the ear drum looks like, and whether the eardrum moves or not. If there's no fever, mild or no pain, the ear drum moves, and the patient has cold symptoms it's usually viral and antibiotics are inappropriate. If there's fever, pain, lack of movement of a very red eardrum, it's likely bacterial.
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Last updated Feb 26, 2020

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