Your GP may prescribe medicine for your ear infection, depending on what's caused it.
Infections inside the ear
Antibiotics are not usually offered because infections inside the ear often clear up on their own and antibiotics make little difference to symptoms, including pain.
Antibiotics might be prescribed if:
- an ear infection does not start to get better after 3 days
- you or your child has any fluid coming out of their ear
- you or your child has an illness that means there's a risk of complications, such as cystic fibrosis
They may also be prescribed if your child is less than 2 years old and has an infection in both ears.
Outer ear infections
Your GP might prescribe:
- antibiotic ear drops – to treat a bacterial infection
- steroid ear drops – to bring down swelling
- antifungal ear drops – to treat a fungal infection
- antibiotic tablets – if your bacterial infection is severe
If you have a spot or boil in your ear, your GP may pierce it with a needle to drain the pus.
Ear drops may not work if they're not used correctly.