How Are Ear Infections Treated
To treat an ear infection, health care providers consider many things, including:
- the type and severity of the ear infection
- how often the child has ear infections
- how long this infection has lasted
- the child’s age and any risk factors
- whether the infection affects hearing
The type of otitis affects treatment options. Not all kinds need to be treated with antibiotics. Because most ear infections can clear on their own, many doctors take a “wait-and-see” approach. Kids will get medicine for pain relief without antibiotics for a few days to see if the infection gets better.
Antibiotics aren’t routinely prescribed because they:
- won’t help an infection caused by a virus
- won’t get rid of middle ear fluid
- can cause side effects
- usually don’t relieve pain in the first 24 hours and have only a minimal effect after that
Also, overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are much harder to treat.
If a doctor does prescribe antibiotics, a 10-day course is usually recommended. Kids age 6 and older who don’t have a severe infection might take a shortened course for 5 to 7 days.
Some children, such as those with recurrent infections and those with lasting hearing loss or speech delay, may need ear tube surgery. An ear, nose, and throat doctor will surgically insert tubes that let fluid drain from the middle ear. This helps equalize the pressure in the ear.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of An Inner Ear Infection
Ear infections can happen anywhere in your outer, middle or inner ear. The symptoms can be very different depending on where the problem is located. If the infection is in your inner ear then it can have a particularly dramatic effect on your senses of balance and hearing. Read on to learn more about inner ear infections and how they can affect you.
Who Is At Risk For An Outer Ear Infection
Swimming is the biggest risk factor for otitis externa, especially swimming in water with high levels of bacteria. Pools that are adequately chlorinated are less likely to spread bacteria.
Showering or cleaning your ears too frequently can also leave the ears open to infection. The narrower the ear canal, the more likely it is that water will be trapped inside. Childrens ear canals are typically narrower than adult ear canals.
The use of headphones or a hearing aid, as well as skin allergies, eczema, and skin irritation from hair products also increase the risk of developing an outer ear infection.
Swimmers ear, itself, is not contagious.
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Can You Take Antibiotics For Ear Infection
At the Doctors Office. For a middle ear infection: If your doctor sees that your ear drum is swollen and full of fluid or pus, you might be given a prescription for antibiotics. Depending on how severe your ear infection is, your doctor may also suggest managing your symptoms at home before taking antibiotics.
Living With An Ear Infection
If your child suffers from several ear infections each year, youll want to look out for symptoms every time they have a stuffy nose or congestion.
Never stick anything in your childs ear to relieve the pain of an ear infection, to remove the tubes or remove a foreign object. See your childs doctor to have it removed.
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If your childs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Treatment for an Ear Infection
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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When Is Treatment With Antibiotics Necessary For An Ear Infection
If your child is in a lot of pain, and the symptoms last more than a few days, your pediatrician will likely recommend a round of antibiotics. According to the AAFP, here are some of the circumstances where antibiotics are likely to be prescribed for an ear infection:
- Infants six months or younger.
- Babies ages six months to two years, who have moderate to severe ear pain.
- Children 2 years or older who have a fever of 102.2 or higher.
- Children with another condition that could make an infection harder to heal, including cleft palate, Down syndrome, immune disorders and cochlear implants.
Will Ear Infection Go Away On Its Own
Do you know what causes ear infection and if it will ear infection go away on its own? Ear infection is one of the most common ailments for adults and if left untreated it may lead to hearing loss. This problem occurs due to inflammation of the inner ear .
The inflammation occurs when the bodys immune system gets confused between harmless earwax or other fluid in the ears, mucus, and other parts of the inner ear, and a potentially harmful bacteria or fungus. As a result of this inflammation, the body sends white blood cells and white blood proteins to the area to fight off the potentially harmful microorganisms.
After a while, the ear becomes infected and itchy because the body is fighting off bacteria or fungi within the ear canal. This can cause discomfort and pain.
It is very important to treat the underlying cause for ear infection, otherwise it will just come back and worsen the situation. Some of the common reasons for ear infection are: viral infection, ear wax build up, ear wax removal, poor ear hygiene, and sinus infection.
There are several treatment options available for curing ear infection. The most common methods include medications, herbal treatments, and home remedies. Each of these treatment options has their own benefits and drawbacks. It is always best to consult your doctor before starting any form of treatment.
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What Are The Options For Ear Infections
Ear infections are one of the most common and uncomfortable infections that anyone can experience. While the ear is not usually an area of concern, it is important to note that a majority of people will have ear infections at some point during their lives. Most often this will occur due to a buildup of infection in the inner ear or the outer ear.
In order for an ear infection to be diagnosed, an appointment with a doctor must take place and ear infections antibiotics prescribed for any person with severe symptoms are then recommended.
The doctor will perform a physical exam on the patient to determine the severity of the infection. It is also important for them to perform a visual examination in order to detect any deformities that may exist in the ear.
Once the doctor has determined that the infection is very serious, then antibiotics will be prescribed. Antibiotics are usually prescribed for mild or moderate cases of ear infections as they will not only kill the bacteria that are responsible for the infection, but also other harmful bacteria which are present in the body as well.
The exact amount of antibiotics that should be given to a person depends on a number of factors such as the severity of the infection, how many people the infection has affected and if the person has a history of recurrent infections.
A doctor will decide on the dosage that will be prescribed based on the severity of the infection.
Can An Ear Infection Be Prevented Or Avoided
Although an ear infection is not contagious, the bacteria or virus that caused it is often contagious. Its important to:
- Vaccinate your child with a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against several types of pneumococcal bacteria. This type of bacteria is the most common cause of ear infections. Get your childs vaccinations on time.
- Practice routine hand washing and avoid sharing food and drinks, especially if your child is exposed to large groups of kids in day care or school settings.
- Avoid second-hand smoke.
- Breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first 6 months and continue breastfeeding for at least 1 year. Place your baby at an angle while feeding.
Common allergy and cold medicines do not protect against ear infections.
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What Are The Harms Of Fluid Buildup In Your Ears Or Repeated Or Ongoing Ear Infections
Most ear infections dont cause long-term problems, but when they do happen, complications can include:
- Loss of hearing: Some mild, temporary hearing loss usually occurs during an ear infection. Ongoing infections, infections that repeatedly occur, damage to internal structures in the ear from a buildup of fluid can cause more significant hearing loss.
- Delayed speech and language development: Children need to hear to learn language and develop speech. Muffled hearing for any length of time or loss of hearing can significantly delay or hamper development.
- Tear in the eardrum: A tear can develop in the eardrum from pressure from the long-lasting presence of fluid in the middle ear. About 5% to 10% of children with an ear infection develop a small tear in their eardrum. If the tear doesnt heal on its own, surgery may be needed. If you have drainage/discharge from your ear, do not place anything into your ear canal. Doing so can be dangerous if there is an accident with the item touching the ear drum.
- Spread of the infection: Infection that doesnt go away on its own, is untreated or is not fully resolved with treatment may spread beyond the ear. Infection can damage the nearby mastoid bone . On rare occasions, infection can spread to the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and cause meningitis.
Treating Middle Ear Infections
You may be prescribed antibiotics. Some antibiotics may be taken orally. Others can be applied directly to the site of the infection with ear drops. Medications for pain, such as over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used to manage your symptoms.
Another helpful technique is called autoinsufflation. Its meant to help clear your eustachian tubes. You do this by squeezing your nose, closing your mouth, and very gently exhaling. This can send air through the eustachian tubes to help drain them.
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What Causes An Outer Ear Infection
Swimming can lead to an outer ear infection. The water left inside the ear canal can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
An infection can also occur if the thin layer of skin that lines the ear canal is injured. Intense scratching, using headphones, or placing cotton swabs in your ear can damage this delicate skin.
When this layer of skin becomes damaged and inflamed, it can provide a foothold for bacteria. Cerumen is the ears natural defense against infection, but constant exposure to moisture and scratching can deplete the ear of cerumen, making infections more likely.
Severe pain in the face, head, or neck can signify that the infection has advanced considerably. Symptoms accompanied by a fever or swollen lymph nodes may also indicate advancing infection. If you have ear pain with any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.
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.
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What Causes An Ear Infection
Ear infections happen in the middle ear. They are caused by a viral or bacterial infection. The infection creates pressure in the Eustachian tube. This tube does not work properly when filled with drainage from the nose or mucous from allergies, colds, bacteria, or viruses.
A childs adenoids sometimes can block the opening of Eustachian tubes because they are larger in young children.
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.
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Complications And Emergency Symptoms
If an outer ear infection goes untreated and doesnt heal on its own, it can result in several complications.
Abscesses can develop around the affected area within the ear. These may heal on their own, or your doctor may need to drain them.
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 ear infections caused by items inserted into the ear. 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, necrotizing 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