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Can You Diagnose An Ear Infection At Home

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Causes Of A Middle Ear Infection

Ear pain relief treatments that you can do at home

Middle ear infections are caused by viruses and bacteria, often resulting from other conditions that can cause blockage and swelling of the eustachian tubes that connect the throat and the middle ear. When this happens, a vacuum is created, allowing germs and fluid from the throat to enter the middle ear. A middle ear infection develops when bacteria or viruses grow in this fluid.

Children are more susceptible to middle ear infections than adults, partly because their eustachian tubes are narrower, so they are more easily blocked. Children also have relatively larger adenoids than adults. These are masses of tissue situated at the point where the nose bends into the throat that are vulnerable to infection, swelling and inflammation ââ¬â when this happens, they can block the eustachian tubes and cause a middle ear infection.

Complications Associated With A Middle Ear Infection

Complications from middle ear infections are extremely uncommon, but can occur, especially in very young children with a not yet fully developed immune system. These complications include:

  • Mastoiditis: When the infection spreads into the bones of the ear. Symptoms include fever, pain, tenderness, headache and a creamy discharge from the ear. This condition is treatable, but seeking medical attention early is important.
  • Cholesteatoma: A result of tissue build-up from recurrent instances of infection. If left untreated, the condition can cause serious damage. Treatment typically involves surgery.
  • Labyrinthitis: A condition that occurs when an infection in the middle ear spreads to the inner ear. Symptoms include dizziness, hearing loss, vertigo and loss of balance. It is treatable.
  • Other complications: Other possible complications include facial paralysis, meningitis and brain abscess, but these conditions are extremely rare.

The Role Of Eustachian Tubes

The eustachian tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the throat. The ends of these tubes open and close to regulate air pressure in the middle ear, resupply air to this area, and drain normal secretions.

A respiratory infection or allergy can block the eustachian tubes, causing a buildup of fluids in the middle ear. Infection can occur if this fluid becomes infected bacterially.

The eustachian tubes of young children are smaller and more horizontal than in older children and adults. This means that fluid is more likely to collect in the tubes rather than drain away, increasing the risk of an ear infection.

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How Can I Prevent My Child From Getting An Ear Infection

  • Wash your childs hands and your own often to reduce the chance of catching a cold.
  • Breastfeed your baby.
  • Avoid bottle-feeding your baby when they are lying down. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle.
  • Transition your baby from a bottle to a cup by 1 year of age.
  • Dont use a pacifier too often.
  • Dont smoke, and keep your child away from any secondhand smoke. Exposure to smoke can increase the risk of ear infections.
  • Ensure your child gets the pneumococcal vaccine .
  • Ensure your child gets a flu shot every year.;

Knowing The Risk Factors

Treating Ear Infections in Children
  • 1Know that antibiotic treatments can lead to a yeast infection. Prolonged periods of antibiotic treatment not only kill the bacterial pathogen inside the body but can also kill the âgood bacteriaâ in the body. This may cause an imbalance in the flora of the mouth, skin, and the vagina, which may cause the overgrowth of yeast.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • If you have been taking antibiotics recently and are experiencing burning and itching sensations, you might have a yeast infection.
  • 2Understand that pregnant women have a higher risk of getting a yeast infection. Pregnancy increases the sugar in vaginal secretions which the yeast can thrive in. When yeast thrive, it causes an imbalance of the normal vaginal flora, which in turn causes a yeast infection.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • 3Note that high estrogen levels are a risk factor. If you take high-dose estrogen birth control pills or do estrogen hormone therapy, you have a higher risk of getting a yeast infection.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
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    How The App Can Be Used As An At Home Ear Infection Test Using Sound

    The system,;called EarHealth, is claimed to be the first;smartphone applications available for iPhone and Android that can hear ear infections in children.

    The results published yesterday in Science Translational Medicine;explains how the system uses the smartphone speaker to play audible,;continuous wave chirps;into the patients ear canal.

    While a normal eardrum resonates well at multiple sound frequencies, the sound reflected from a healthy ear will create a broad-spectrum, soft echo producing an acoustic and broad dip in the overall signal, which is displayed on the screen.

    An infected ear with fluid or pus restricts the vibrational capacity of the eardrum resulting in a;destructive interference, which creates a narrower and deeper acoustic dip.

    Its like tapping a wine glass, explained Justin Chan, a doctoral student in the Allen School.

    He said: Depending on how much liquid is in it, you get different sounds.

    Using machine learning on these sounds, we can detect the presence of liquid.

    The smartphone-based screening tools determines the presence of fluid with a detection probability of 85%.

    After parents provided informed consent,;the team tested 53 children between ages of 18 months and 17 years at Seattle Childrens Hospital,;half of the;patients were getting tubes in their ears replaced, while the others were getting their tonsils removed or another non-ear procedure.

    So these surgeries created the ideal setting for this study.

    What You Should Not Do To Soothe A Cold Or Ear Infection:

    • Do not give over-the-counter cold medicines to children under age 2. Consider avoiding them if the child is older, too.
    • Do not tilt an infants crib mattress. Children under age 1 should sleep on a flat mattress with no pillows or blankets.
    • Do not allow a child to drink while lying down, as it can increase the chances of getting an ear infection.
    • Do not smoke. Families and caregivers who smoke increase a childs chance of getting colds and ear infections.

    Because young children get more colds in the winter, they may also develop more ear infections. Five out of six children will experience at least one ear infection by the time they are 3 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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    What Type Of Ear Infection Is It

    There are two common types of ear infections:

    • Otitis media: This ear infection affects the middle ear . Middle ear infections are common in kids and tend to cause trouble hearing, fevers, and pain without much outward signs such as ear drainage or swelling.
    • Otitis externa: This infection affects the ear canal, and is commonly known as swimmers ear because water exposure is a risk factor for it. Swimmers ear is painful, too, and tends to have more visible signs such as a swollen ear canal or pus drainage.

    There are several home remedies for earaches, says Dr. Nguyen-Huynh. Try these for the first two or three days if symptoms are mild.

    How Can I Tell If My Child Has An Ear Infection

    Ear Infections: Best Ways to Treat at Home and Prevent that Earache

    Most ear infections happen to children before theyve learned how to talk. If your child isnt old enough to say My ear hurts, here are a few things to look for:

    • Tugging or pulling at the ear
    • Fussiness and crying
    • Fever
    • Fluid draining from the ear
    • Clumsiness or problems with balance
    • Trouble hearing or responding to quiet sounds

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    How To Use Them

    The dosage, type, and frequency of doses depend on the type of medication, the age of the person, their weight, and other mitigating factors such as medical history.

    If a child is under age 2 or has never taken this medication before, contact their healthcare provider before administering it.

    For children and adults, follow the directions on the package carefully.

    Over The Counter Medications

    Diphenhydramine can be used to treat nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and vertigo.

    Generally, treatment for inner ear infection involves the use of antibiotics like ibuprofen and acetaminophen which are prescribed by professional doctors as a means of a temporary solution, if you are experiencing mild pain in the ear that is caused due to the infection from bacteria or virus.

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    Home Remedies For Ear Infections

    Ear infections are caused by bacteria or viruses in the middle ear. Ear infections occur more often in children than adults. Some causes and contributing factors that lead to ear infections are wax buildup, upper respiratory infections, food allergies, environmental allergies, fetal alcohol syndrome, genetics, nutritional deficiencies and internal injuries. Some common signs that someone is suffering from an ear infection are pain in the ear, tugging at the ear, difficulty sleeping, headache, poor response to sounds, high fever, fluid draining from the ear, vomiting, diarrhea and so on.

    The ear is made up of three parts: outer, middle and inner.

    An ear infection can occur in any of the three parts. Inner ear infections are the most serious. It is important to treat an ear infection to prevent complications, including damaging or rupturing the ear drum. Untreated ear infections can also lead to chronic recurrence and can even cause deafness! It is important to consult a doctor, but for immediate relief you can try some natural treatments. There are many time-honored, simple and easy home remedies that can help to get rid of the pain and other symptoms of an ear infection.

    Here are the top 10 home remedies for an ear infection.

    How Do You Know If Your Baby Has An Ear Infection

    Ear Infections: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnose

    Fever may come with an ear infection, but not always, Shu says. Parents might spot other symptoms, such as earaches, ear drainage, trouble hearing or sleeping, ear tugging, poor appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. But for many children, its just fussiness, crying more than usual, being clingy, Shu says.

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    Causes Of Inner Ear Infection

    Infection in the inner ear or otitis interna is mainly caused by bacteria or virus that dwell in our surroundings. But the most common cause of an inner ear infection is a virus.

    It is less possible that the cause of inner ear infection maybe bacteria.

    Viruses associated with inner ear infections include influenza, herpes viruses, Epstein-Barr virus, and polio. The inner ear consists of fluid-filled semicircular canals, cochlea, vestibular nerve, and auditory nerve. The virus affects these parts and it leads to the inflammation of the inner parts. This causes inner ear infections.

    Sometimes, an infection may also be caused due to water being trapped inside the ear, or due to the excessive buildup of earwax for quite a long time.

    Apart from these, the other types of causes may include smoking and having allergies, which are either seasonal or year-round. These may also put you at risk of developing an infection in the ear.

    It is often seen that many swimmers are prone to this type of infection because of the water getting accumulated inside the ears and staying there for longer periods of time, with no action of drying or draining them out or perhaps, cleaning the ears properly after swimming.

    The same goes with individuals who have a bath or shower and do not give proper care in cleaning the ears off of the accumulated water.

    How Is An Acute Middle Ear Infection Treated

    Many doctors will prescribe an antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, to be taken over seven to 10 days. Your doctor also may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or eardrops, to help with fever and pain.

    If your doctor isnt able to make a definite diagnosis of OM and your child doesnt have severe ear pain or a fever, your doctor might ask you to wait a day or two to see if the earache goes away. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines in 2013 that encourage doctors to observe and closely follow these children with ear infections that cant be definitively diagnosed, especially those between the ages of 6 months to 2 years. If theres no improvement within 48 to 72 hours from when symptoms began, the guidelines recommend doctors start antibiotic therapy. Sometimes ear pain isnt caused by infection, and some ear infections may get better without antibiotics. Using antibiotics cautiously and with good reason helps prevent the development of bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics.

    If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, its important to make sure your child takes it exactly as prescribed and for the full amount of time. Even though your child may seem better in a few days, the infection still hasnt completely cleared from the ear. Stopping the medicine too soon could allow the infection to come back. Its also important to return for your childs follow-up visit, so that the doctor can check if the infection is gone.

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    Garlic May Interact With Some Medications

    Garlic supplements should not be taken with medications that are transported by P-gp. This includes:

    • Colchicine
    • Tacrolimus
    • Verapamil

    Because of the increased risk of bleeding associated with garlic supplements, talk to your healthcare provider about their use if you take an anticoagulant such as warfarin or if you need surgery.

    Garlic supplements may interfere with the effectiveness of saquinavir and other medications, dietary herbs, or supplements.

    Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements, including garlic.

    What Is A Middle Ear Infection

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    A middle ear infection, otherwise known as otitis media, is a viral or bacterial infection of the air-filled cavity behind the eardrum. In most cases, a middle ear infection affects just one ear, but can also occur in both ears simultaneously. The infection can cause painful inflammation, as well as a build-up of fluid in the middle ear. Although people of any age can develop the infection, it is most common in younger children, with a high percentage of children experiencing the condition before the age of 10.

    In some cases, a middle ear infection may disappear without treatment. While antibiotics are only sometimes necessary to fight the infection, pain-relievers are commonly prescribed to lessen the pain caused by the condition. Further treatment options are available for recurrent middle ear infections. Complications are rare, meaning it is generally considered a non-serious condition.

    There are three common types of middle ear infection:

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    Why Are Children More Likely Than Adults To Get Ear Infections

    There are several reasons why children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.

    Eustachian tubes are smaller and more level in children than they are in adults. This makes it difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear, even under normal conditions. If the eustachian tubes are swollen or blocked with mucus due to a cold or other respiratory illness, fluid may not be able to drain.

    A childs immune system isnt as effective as an adults because its still developing. This makes it harder for children to fight infections.

    As part of the immune system, the adenoids respond to bacteria passing through the nose and mouth. Sometimes bacteria get trapped in the adenoids, causing a chronic infection that can then pass on to the eustachian tubes and the middle ear.

    How To Treat An Ear Infection At Home

    Ear infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or rarely yeast. There are three areas in the ear where ear infections can occur in adults and children.

  • Outer ear infections : An outer ear infection most commonly experienced is often known as swimmers ear. This infection usually is due to bacterial infection of the skin tissue covering the ear canal. Excessive immersion in water or injuring the ear canal by putting things in it makes you more likely to develop an outer ear infection.
  • Middle ear infections: A middle ear infection is an infection just behind the eardrum with pus trapped in the adjacent hollow cavity of the facial bone. Middle ear infections frequently are a complication of the common cold in children. Most middle ear infections are caused by viruses and will resolve spontaneously. Bacterial infections cause some middle ear infections, which requires antibiotic treatment.
  • Inner ear infections: Inner ear infections are very rare, and usually are caused by a virus. These infections are more accurately characterized as inflammation of the structures of the inner ear . Since these structures affect hearing and balance, inner ear infections cause symptoms such as ringing of the ears or dizziness and balance disruption . Usually, inner ear infections in adults and children need medical treatment.
  • Which parts of the ear can become infected?

  • The outer earincludes the cartilaginous structure and ear canal ending at the eardrum .
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    What Causes Middle Ear Infections

    Most middle ear infections occur when an infection such as a cold, leads to a build-up of mucus in the middle ear and causes the Eustachian tube to become swollen or blocked.

    This mean mucus can’t drain away properly, making it easier for an infection to spread into the middle ear.

    An enlarged adenoid can also block the Eustachian tube. The adenoid can be removed if it causes persistent or frequent ear infections. Read more about removing adenoids.

    Younger children are particularly vulnerable to middle ear infections as:

    • the Eustachian tube is smaller in children than in adults
    • a child’s adenoids are relatively much larger than an adults

    Certain conditions can also increase the risk of middle ear infections, including:

    • having a cleft palate a type of birth defect where a child has a split in the roof of their mouth
    • having Down’s syndrome a genetic condition that typically causes some level of learning disability and a characteristic range of physical features

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