Painful ears

Hello Diana, my problem has to do with my ears.  I have uncomfortable itching in my right ear with inflammation, redness and some pain which gets worse when I eat. What do you advise?  Veronica Palmer Skipton

Veronica, your earache may simply be due to your ear canal being blocked or it could be an infection of the middle ear (acute otitis media) which causes inflammation and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum. Don’t poke anything into your ear canal – not even a cotton bud. Most ear infections clear up within three to five days, so paracetamol or ibuprofen could be used to relieve discomfort. If the pain gets worse when you chew, press on the “tag” in front of the ear, or wiggle your earlobe.  

Most middle ear infections occur through a cold, leading to a build-up of mucus in the middle ear, which causes the Eustachian tube (running from middle ear to back of  nose) to become swollen or blocked. Mucus can’t drain away, making it easy for an infection to spread into the middle ear. Usually these infections develop quickly and resolve in a few days, but just sometimes a hole may develop in the eardrum (perforated eardrum) and pus may run out of the ear easing the pain. If the middle ear becomes filled with fluid a loss of hearing could be a sign of glue ear. See your GP and get hearing checked if you are concerned.