Can ear infections be serious?

Yes ear infections can potentially be very serious. If one imagines how close the middle ear is to the brain, there is a risk of infection spreading and causing serious complications such as mastoiditis or brain abscesses, but these are extremely rare.

The infection can spread through the bone to behind the ear (mastoiditis) and possibly to the brain

If the ear starts to stick out or there is any redness behind the ear then this needs urgent treatment.

Similarly if there is a persistent fever this may indicate a complication

mastoid anatomy.jpg