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What causes dark brown discharge from ear and dizziness?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2013
Answered : 1242 Questions
My two year old has no fever, and I've been monitoring him for the past two days. Two mornings ago he woke up with one ear looking like he had been in a fight. Dark brown wax had drained out and dried all over his ear and sheets. He has been off balance, sometimes standing still and suddenly falling over and had moments of staring off into space (not normal for him). Could this be allergy related (need of stronger allergy meds) or does this sound like an ear infection. If he had a fever I'd have already taken him to the doctor.
Posted Wed, 6 Aug 2014 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Rovena Murati 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
It seems like ear infection.

Detailed Answer:
Hello Dear!
I read carefully your query and understand your concern.

It seems like ear infection and probably perforated eardrum (the dark brown wax drained out his ear).You don't need to worry it sounds more serious that it actually is.It is self-healing condition.
Ear infections are very common in children and most of them go on their own and don't require antibiotics.
Allergy may have caused a blocked eustachian tube and this causes the fluid to build up in the area behind your child's eardrum and then becomes infected.The pressure can make eardrum to rupture and once this fluid build-up pops, the pain disappears and the eardrum heals over just like new.

The new guidelines recommend not to use antibiotic right away for ear infections in children. The XXXXXXX Academy of Pediatrics recommends a watch-and-wait approach, since most ear infections clear up without antibiotics.

So if your child has no fever,severe ear pain he most likely won't need antibiotics.
Being off balance and temporary decrease of hearing (for 1-2 months) are normally seen in ear infections.They go away on their own.

I suggest to consult his pediatrician so he can examine his ears with a otoscope and confirm the ear infection and perforated eardrum.

Monitor your child and if he has fever,severe ear pain consult his pediatrician.
You can give him Acetominophen (Tylenol) every 4-6 hours if he has ear pain.

Hope my answer has helped.
Let me know if you have any other question.

Wish complete and quick recovery to your son.


Dr.Rovena Murati
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