JACKSONVILLE, Fla -

Ear infections can be very painful not matter how old or young you are when you get one.

"Most people outgrow the problems they have with ear infections when they're young, but occasionally we can see adults who have acute ear infections just like children," says Erika Woodson.

Dr. Erika Woodson treats ear problems at Cleveland Clinic.  She says one of the dominating symptoms of an earache is pain, but it's unlikely to occur on its own.

The pain comes on as you're battling a bad cold or a sinus infection. Sometimes the ear drum might break, which will cause fluid or even blood to leak.  If this happens, call your doctor immediately. An earache in an adult is typically treated much like the kids.

"First of all, it's a matter of pain control.  Most ear infections are still viral and most of them will clear up on their own," says Woodson.

Dr. Woodson says antibiotics might be prescribed, depending on what the fluid behind the ear drum looks like.  She says it could take several weeks for an earache to clear up.

Doctors are withholding antibiotics more except in very young children or when there's a fever present.  If you do get an antibiotic make sure you take it all so that you don't build up a resistance to the medicine when you need you again.