Should My Child See Her Pediatrician For An Ear Infection
In some cases with older babies and toddlers, mild symptoms may go away on their own. But if your child is under 6 months old, has a high fever, severe pain, drainage or swelling in the ear, its time to call your pediatrician. However, your doctor wont necessarily prescribe antibiotics right away. Ear infections are caused by both bacteria and viruses, so antibiotics arent always the solution. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, there are several reasons why doctors dont prescribe antibiotics for every ear infection:
- Antibiotics dont work for ear infections caused by viruses.
- Antibiotics dont help the pain associated with ear infections
- Infections from both viruses and bacteria often disappear without antibiotics in a few days, especially in children over two years old.
- Physicians are keenly aware that the overprescription of antibiotics makes vital medicines less effective, so we work hard to use them only when truly necessary. In many cases, your doctor will watch the infection for a few days to see if it goes away on its own.
What Are The Symptoms
The main symptom is an earache. It can be mild, or it can hurt a lot. Babies and young children may be fussy. They may pull at their ears and cry. They may have trouble sleeping. They may also have a fever.
You may see thick, yellow fluid coming from their ears. This happens when the infection has caused the eardrum to burst and the fluid flows out. This isn’t serious and usually makes the pain go away. The eardrum usually heals on its own.
When fluid builds up but doesn’t get infected, children often say that their ears just feel plugged. They may have trouble hearing, but their hearing usually returns to normal after the fluid is gone. It may take weeks for the fluid to drain away.
When Should I Call The Doctor
Very rarely, ear infections that don’t go away or severe repeated middle ear infections can lead to complications. So kids with an earache or a sense of fullness in the ear, especially when combined with fever, should be seen by their doctors if they aren’t getting better after a couple of days.
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Do Ear Infections Always Need To Be Treated With Antibiotics
I see many parents bring their children in to Express Care with ear infections and request antibiotics, but sometimes antibiotics arent the right choice. Most ear infections cure themselves without the help of antibiotics.
Lets first discuss what an ear infection is and other approaches to take. An ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection that affects the ear. It becomes painful when buildups of fluid and inflammation occur in the air-filled space behind the eardrum. Signs and symptoms of infection will quickly show. A great way to tell if your child has an ear infection is if he or she start showing the following symptoms:
- Pain in the ear, especially while lying down
- Pulling or tugging the ear
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty hearing or responding to sounds
- Fever or headache
Generally, an ear infection will improve within the first couple days, and clear up within one to two weeks without any treatment. It is recommended to use the wait-and-see approach for:
- Children age 6 to 23 months with mild inner ear pain in one ear for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than 102.2 F
- Children age 2 and older with mild inner ear pain in one or both ears for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than 102.2 F
Check out these additional tips to reduce the risk of developing ear infections.
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How Long Does A Yeast Infection Last
Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.
Dr. Umer Khan
Dr. Umer Khan
Medically reviewed by Dr Umer Khan, MD who is a Board Certified physician practicing in Pennsylvania. His special interests include wellness, longevity and medical IT.
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Use Ear Tubes If The Condition Keeps Recurring
If the ear infection is recurrent, you may also ask your doctor about the possibility of using ear tubes. For instance, having otitis media recurring four times in a year or three times in six months, you may need remedies like ear tubes. The tubes are basically meant to drain fluids from the middle ear. The ear tube surgery, also referred to as myringotomy, is a procedure that involves surgical insertion of tiny tubes into the eardrum to drain fluids. It is basically an outpatient procedure.
What Will Happen If A Yeast Infection Is Left Untreated
If a mild yeast infection is left untreated, it may go away on its own in a few days. More severe yeast infections could take up to 2 weeks to clear without treatment.
If your infection is causing painful and uncomfortable symptoms for more than 3 days, you should seek medical treatment.
The length and type of treatment for a yeast infection vary greatly from person to person and depend on the individual symptoms and severity.
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Why Do Kids Get So Many Ear Infections
The NIH points to several reasons why kids are more likely to get ear infections:
- Childrens eustachian tubes are smaller and more level than those of adults. This means its harder for fluid to drain from the ear, so if a childs tubes get blocked by mucus from another respiratory infection, fluid may not drain properly.
- Childrens immune systems are still developing so it can be harder for them to fight infections.
- In children, if bacteria gets trapped in the adenoids , it can cause a chronic infection that gets passed to the eustachian tubes and middle ear.
Fever In Young Infants
If a baby younger than 3 months old has a rectal temperature or forehead temperature of 100.4 F or higher, they need to go to the emergency room, even if there are no other symptoms.
For infants age 6 months or older, toddlers, and older children: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen are options.
Never give children aspirin, as it puts them at risk of a rare but serious condition known as Reye’s syndrome.
For adults: Acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can help. Neither aspirin nor naproxen should be given to children unless directed by a healthcare provider.
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What Should I Expect If I Or My Child Has An Ear Infection
Ear infections are common in children. Adults can get them too. Most ear infections are not serious. Your healthcare provider will recommend over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and fever. Pain relief may begin as soon as a few hours after taking the drug.
Your healthcare provider may wait a few days before prescribing an antibiotic. Many infections go away on their own without the need for antibiotics. If you or your child receives an antibiotic, you should start to see improvement within two to three days.
If you or your child has ongoing or frequent infections, or if fluid remains in the middle ear and puts hearing at risk, ear tubes may be surgically implanted in the eardrum to keep fluid draining from the eustachian tube as it normally should.
Never hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions.
Family Medicine At Tufts Medical Center Community Care
Ear infection treatment is one of our many fortes at Tufts Medical Center Community Carea multispecialty medical group serving families throughout north suburban Boston. Our team includes family medicine physicians who specialize in treating both children and adults, providing local families a convenient source for top-quality, comprehensive medical care.
Heres what you can expect as a patient at Tufts Medical Center Community Care:
- Multiple easily accessible locations with ample free parking
- Better-than-average appointment availability, including limited weekend and evening appointments
- A seamless, all-in-one care experience from a multidisciplinary team of clinicians
- Multiple safety-enhancing measures as part of our Safe With Us pledge
For ear infection treatment, check-ups and much more, turn to the family medicine physicians at Tufts Medical Center Community Care. Our team is ready to help! Contact us today to schedule a visit or request an appointment online. We accept most major health insurance plans, including Tricare, Medicare and Medicaid.
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A Problem With Your Jaw
Earache is occasionally caused by a problem with the joint of your jaw bone . This is known as temporomandibular joint pain and can be caused by problems such as arthritis or teeth grinding.
Jaw pain can often be treated with painkillers, warm or cold compresses, and trying not to clench your jaw and grind your teeth.
Cause Of Ear Infections
- A bacterial infection of the middle ear
- Blocked eustachian tube, usually as part of a common cold. The eustachian tube joins the middle ear to the back of the throat.
- Blockage results in middle ear fluid .
- If the fluid becomes infected , the fluid turns to pus. This causes the eardrum to bulge out and can cause a lot of pain.
- Ear infections peak at age 6 months to 2 years. They are a common problem until age 8.
- The onset of ear infections is often on day 3 of a cold.
- How often do kids get ear infections? 90% of children have at least 1 ear infection. Frequent ear infections occur in 20% of children. Ear infections are the most common bacterial infection of young children.
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When You Need Themand When You Dont
Many children get ear infections. The infections are usually in the middle ear behind the eardrum. They may be caused by bacteria or by a virus. Doctors often treat bacterial infections with antibiotics. Antibiotics are strong medicines that kill bacteria.
Infants and some babies and children do need antibiotics.
But using antibiotics too often can be harmful. Heres why:
In most cases, antibiotics are not needed.
- They do not work for ear infections caused by viruses.
- They do not help the pain.
- Usually, viral infections and many bacterial infections go away on their own in two to three days, especially in children who are over two years old.
First, call the doctor and treat the pain.
If you suspect your child has an ear infection, you should call the doctors office and describe the symptoms. Usually, your doctor should ask you to wait a few days before bringing your child in.
The main sign of an ear infection is pain, especially on the first day. Or, a child may have a fever.
Start by giving your child an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as:
- acetaminophen .
- ibuprofen .
Antibiotics do not relieve pain in the first 24 hours. They only have a small effect on pain after that. So, pain relievers are an important treatment, and usually they are the only treatment needed.
When is treatment with antibiotics needed?If the infection is very painful and lasts more than a few days, chances are it is a bacterial infection.
When Should I Call The Doctor About An Ear Infection
- You or your child develops a stiff neck.
- Your child acts sluggish, looks or acts very sick, or does not stop crying despite all efforts.
- Your childs walk is not steady he or she is physically very weak.
- You or your childs ear pain is severe.
- You or your child has a fever over 104° F .
- Your child is showing signs of weakness in their face .
- You see bloody or pus-filled fluid draining from the ear.
- The fever remains or comes back more than 48 hours after starting an antibiotic.
- Ear pain is not better after three days of taking an antibiotic.
- Ear pain is severe.
- You have any questions or concerns.
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Home Remedies For Ear Infections In Dogs Without Prescriptions
This commonly known technique is controversial. Some veterinarians see this over-the-counter product as a good ear cleaning agent. Others see its use as risky. Read on to understand why.
I remember as a child my father used this technique to clean MY ears!
Its suggested to use one part of peroxide mixed with one part of water to kill the bacteria present in the ear, by using a cotton wool soaked with the mixture to clean it.
That said, peroxide also attacks good bacteria in the ear, so use this in moderation. Also, in the case of a yeast infection, this product could cause more inflammation. Due to its chemical action, the peroxide leaves the ear wet, which technically predisposes it to further infections.
While some recognize its effectiveness, the supervision of an animal health professional when using this technique is always recommended.
Using this remedy will require you to unleash your talents as a chef!
You can follow this recipe from Wellpet:
- Mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with garlic over low heat to create a marvelous antibacterial concoction!
- You can use this cooled mixture to clean your dog’s ears, again with cotton wool or gauze.
In any case, ear infections in dogs should be taken seriously even if they are very common.
If your dog shows signs such as shaking his head, scratching his ears or they are smelly, use our natural remedy or the other treatments suggested to relieve him of his ear infection symptoms.
Can Infected Blisters Heal On Their Own
Whether they develop on the hands, feet, knees or any other part of the body infection is always a concern. It is even more significant concern when the infection results from a blister. If you have ever broken in a pair of shoes or worked in the garden, you are probably familiar with getting blisters.The human body can fight most of the infections, but if you are dealing with an infected blister can it succeed to fight it? Whether you are currently suffering or you are merely concerned, it is good to know if your blister is infected and how to treat it.Read through the article to find out how to manage an infected blister.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Otitis Externa
In most uncomplicated cases of otitis externa, you should only be treated with ear drops. Oral antibiotics do not provide the same level of coverage or reach the area of the infection. 5 Because the ear drops are delivered right to the area of infection, recovery is often faster compared to taking an oral antibiotic.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- How can I keep my child comfortable at night with the pain of an ear infection?
- Is there drainage with an ear infection?
- What is the difference between an ear infection and swimmers ear?
- Is my child a candidate for ear tubes?
- What are the risks and benefits of surgically inserting tubes inside my childs middle ear?
- Should my child get regular hearing tests if they have frequent ear infections?
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Treating Outer Ear Infections
The outer ear should be carefully cleaned. That should be followed by the application of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory medications on your ear.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if your doctor determines that the infection is bacterial.
If you have a viral infection, you may simply need to tend to the irritation on your ear and wait for the infection to resolve itself. Depending on the type of virus involved, more specialized treatment may be necessary.
Outer Ear Infection Complications & Emergencies
If an outer ear infection goes untreated and doesnt heal on its own, it can result in several complications:
- Abscesses can develop. These may heal on their own, or your doctor may need to drain them. They usually become very painful and then burst on their own but you should have it looked at before it gets to this stage.
- Long-term outer ear infections can cause narrowing of the ear canal. Narrowing can affect the hearing and, in extreme cases, cause deafness. It needs to be treated with antibiotics.
- Ruptured or perforated eardrums can also be a complication of outer and middle ear infections. This can be extremely painful. Symptoms include temporary hearing loss, ringing or buzzing in the ears, discharge, and bleeding from the ear.
- In rare cases, necrotising otitis externa occurs. This is an extremely serious complication where the infection spreads to the cartilage and bone that surrounds your ear canal.
Adults with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Untreated, it can be fatal. This is considered a medical emergency, with symptoms including:
- Severe ear pain and headaches, especially at night
- Ongoing ear discharge
- Facial nerve palsy on the side of the affected ear
- Exposed bone in the ear canal
Outer ear infections should not be left to heal on their own longer than 3 days. They are normally treated very quickly and easily by antibiotics
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Always Start With The Good Ear First
If your cat only has an ear infection in one ear, it is important to just clean the healthy ear first and then clean and medicate the infected ear. Only the infected ear should be medicated.
Since infection can spread between ears, be sure to wash your hands and use new supplies after touching each ear, and dont go back to the other ear. If youre using gloves, put on a new glove when you switch ears. This is a good rule even if both ears are infected.