You should contact your GP or local out-of-hours service if: You can use over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat the pain.
Eardrops or olive oil drops should not be used if the eardrum has burst, and they will not help an ear infection.
If you or your child has an ear infection, you should avoid getting the affected ear wet.
The information below should not be used to self-diagnose your condition, but it may give you an idea as to what might be causing your earache.
It does not include every possible cause, but outlines some of the most common reasons for earache.
If the cause of earache is an ear infection, there may be a watery or pus-like fluid coming out of the ear.
Outer ear infections (infections of the tube connecting the outer ear and eardrum) and middle ear infections (infections of the parts of the ear behind the eardrum) are very common causes of earache.Many ear infections clear up on their own without treatment in a few days or weeks, but in some cases your GP may prescribe eardrops or antibiotics.Earache is a common problem, particularly in children.It can be worrying, but it's usually only caused by a minor infection and will often get better in a few days without treatment.Earache can be a sharp, dull or burning ear pain that comes and goes or is constant. It's not always necessary to see your GP if you or your child have earache.The pain will often improve in a few days and there are things you can do to help in the meantime.