Re: How can you tell if ear problem is bacterial?
Have you been running a long term low grade fever? High grade fever? Any color to the fluid?
Bacterial or viral infections will be accompanied by fever. Bacterial infections tend to multiply generating nasty yellow green thick stuff that falls down the back of your throat and gags you eventually. In the case of slow draining chronic clear ear fluid.. it is basically a result of retain allergic response ear fluid. The decongest and an anti-histamine are the best ways to control it. If you are just on decongestants.. you might want to try an anti-histamine for a couple of weeks and see if it helps.
When you are running a fever and showing the other signs. A fever about 100.4 with yellow green discharge, sinus pressure and pain.. maybe ear pain as well = sinus infection.
Fevers from 101.4-102.4 normally mean ear infection with a sinus infection too. Whether or not it is viral versus bacterial can be determined by a simple CBC blood test. Fungal infections have to be cultured to confirm.
Hope this answers your questions. I used to be the sinus infection queen until my last roto rooter sinus surgery.
If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.