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Zazz

When is it time to go to the doctor?

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Hey everyone.

So... maybe weird question?

How does one even know that something is worth going to the doctor about? Is it duration, intensity, symptom based (like how can I even trust my symptoms anyways)?

Per usual I'm stuck in a stupid loop of "I should ask a doctor about this but I'll probably embarrass myself and I've been in so many times lately and I'm wasting their time and I should just wait for it to blow over".

What's going on right now is that I haven't been able to hear out of my right ear for about four days (+tinittus (ringing and pulsate), mild achiness, warmth, mild swelling). I know it's probably not long enough to go in... and swear to God if I do it'll go away a couple days after I go in there while I'm waiting for a damn referral to the ENT.

I really want my body to stop doing weird things. I've had it. I'm starting to get actually a bit pissed off because I'm tired of this anxiety loop... and I'd get out of it if my immune system would stop being a douche!

On the bright side... I haven't Googled potential causes... so... that's an improvement?

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That sounds like your typical ear infection. I would go in and have it checked out so they can give you ear drops or antibiotics.

My rule of thumb is if it isn’t obvious what is wrong (UTI, sinus infection, other minor stuff I’ve had before) I usually wait at least 3 weeks to see if it goes away. In that time if it gets worse or progresses to something else then I would go in. Sometimes I wait longer if it is just a mild annoyance and isn’t getting worse. In that time I work on my thought patterns and work on resisting what ifs and catastrophic thinking. Every time it’s different though, based on past experience and knowledge so I don’t have a hard and fast answer for that one. 

In your case the warmth achiness and swelling make me believe it’s just an ear infection and for that I would go to the doc.

As you mentioned above, though, even if you think it’s just a minor problem, DO NOT Google. Google is a very poor replacement for a doctor and puts nothing in perspective, everything is just out there and no one thing is more likely than the other when you’re reading it online. That’s where we get trapped in catastrophic thinking. Google mentions things a doc wouldn’t even bring up because they have perspective and a long history of treating people which the internet does not have.

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I do have allergies but I haven't been really dealing with any allergy symptoms (though I am allergic to my cat).

If it's an infection... it's very mild. The ache isn't much. I am hyperaware of my body though so... yeah.

This ear has actually been bothering me on and off for probably five years. I occasionally get a pretty fierce burning pain in it from time to time that I'm fairly certain is my arthritis acting up (especially since issues with it often show up early in the morning or late at night before bed). I would guess this why the swelling is so mild as well (like most of it's inside I guess? But the trigus is a little swollen from what I can tell).

That's just based off my knowledge... I would guess a mixture of inflammation and ear gunk... there isn't any puss or odd coloring. *Shrugs*

I guess I'll give it into next week since it doesn't hurt that much and then send my PCP a message (I'd wait longer and depending on how much my anxiety wants to be a dick I might... but this is actually really annoying me?).

My brain has of course gone worst case scenario already. Since I haven't Googled it, all it's got is "you could permanently lose hearing in that ear"

And I'm luckily not really that freaked out about that (though do not want cus... I'm already paranoid I won't hear something I need to be able to hear (and that's with normal hearing)).

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Ok, with that knowledge that you have had similar sensations in the past and have allergies (our weather has been weird in the Midwest and lots of people are having allergy issues this winter) then I would say let it be and if it gets worse then go in. You can always go to an ENT and have them take a look. Even if it’s allergies they know what to look for and can prescribe something if they feel it’s necessary. 

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