Why Do Kids Get Ear Infections
Kids get ear infections more than adults do for several reasons:
- Their shorter, more horizontal eustachian tubes let bacteria and viruses find their way into the middle ear more easily. The tubes are also narrower, so more likely to get blocked.
- Their adenoids, gland-like structures at the back of the throat, are larger and can interfere with the opening of the eustachian tubes.
Other things that can put kids at risk include secondhand smoke, bottle-feeding, and being around other kids in childcare. Ear infections are more common in boys than girls.
Ear infections are not contagious, but the colds that sometimes cause them can be. Infections are common during winter weather, when many people get upper respiratory tract infections or colds .
How To Treat An Ear Infection At Home
Which parts of the ear can become infected?
Earache Remedies You Can Try
1. Hot or cold compress
The skinny: Grab an ice or heat pack and put it onthe affected ear to help with the pain.
Doctors advice: The temperature you use is up to you. Wrap it in a towel tomake sure its not too cold or too hot. You dont want to cause any burns.
2.Over-the-counter pain relievers
The skinny: Pain relievers work as advertised, helping take the edge off the pain.
Doctors advice:Both adults and kids can rest easier when they take acetaminophen or ibuprofen at the right dosage. These medications reduce pain and fever, making you feel more comfortable.
3. Sleep position
The skinny: How you sleep can affect ear pain. Rest with your head on two or more pillows, so the affected ear is higher than the rest of your body. Or if the left ear has an infection, sleep on your right side. Less pressure = less ear pain.
Doctors advice: It could be effective, though a few inches may not make a big difference in pressure measurement. But if it makes you feel better, go for it.
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Five Tips For Ear Infection Treatment At Home
Even when antibiotics are prescribed, they wont take effect for 24 to 48 hours. Your child need not suffer needlessly. There are simple, effective ways to reduce your childs discomfort and pain during an ear infection.
1. Fever and pain medicine: based it on age, consult with doctor
Over-the-counter medications can help reduce pain and fever in your child. Based it on age and weight and consult with your pediatrician if necessary.
Read labels and instructions carefully when giving fever-reducing medications. Its very important to follow instructions and give the appropriate dosage according to your childs weight and age, says Dr. Hutton.
- For children younger than 6 months, give only acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.
- For children older than 6 months, you may give also give an ibuprofen product, such as Advil, for fever and pain.
- Infants younger than 3 months old who have a fever need immediate medical attention even if they appear well and show no other signs of being ill.
- Do not give aspirin to children because it can cause Reyes syndrome, a rare but very serious illness that harms the liver and brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
2. Place a cold pack or warm compress over your childs ear
Put a cold wet washcloth on the outer ear for 20 minutes to help with pain until the pain medicine starts to work.
3. Keep child hydrated
Make sure to keep your child well hydrated. Give lots of cold fluids.
4. Elevate your childs head
How To Get Rid Of An Earache Fast
It doesnt matter how old you are earaches hurt. And since most earaches are not the result of a bacterial infection, antibiotics wont help get you better.
But you dont have to take a wait-and-see approach.
There are several earache treatment methods that can help to reduce your symptoms, including the pain and swelling youre experiencing.
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Preventing An Earache Before It Starts
Want to protect against ear infections in the first place? Your surest bet is to prevent the spread of germs that can lead to infection.
Make sure your child receives the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine , since pneumococcal bacteria is the most common cause of an ear infection.
Also, breastfeeding for at least 6 months has shown to boost the babys immune system, helping to prevent sickness.
More generally to prevent earaches, you should keep your home smoke-free and practice healthy everyday habits like handwashing.
These methods will not only protect against ear infections but a whole host of illnesses you and your family are much better without!
Can Ear Infections Be Prevented
Some lifestyle choices can help protect kids from ear infections:
- Breastfeed infants for at least 6 months to help to prevent the development of early episodes of ear infections. If a baby is bottle-fed, hold the baby at an angle instead of lying the child down with the bottle.
- Prevent exposure to secondhand smoke, which can increase the number and severity of ear infections.
- Parents and kids should wash their hands well and often. This is one of the most important ways to stop the spread of germs that can cause colds and, therefore, ear infections.
- Keep children’s immunizations up to date because certain vaccines can help prevent ear infections.
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Causes Of A Middle Ear Infection
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 Ã¢â¬â when this happens, they can block the eustachian tubes and cause a middle ear infection.
Give Warm Or Cold Compresses A Go
One of the best ways of treating an ear infection at home is to give a warm or cold compress a go. Try a warm, damp washcloth or a heating pad to relieve your ear pain.
You can use both a warm and a cold compress and for best results, be sure to alternate between both. Keep the compress on for approximately ten minutes. It is an excellent pain relief method for individuals of all ages.
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Risk Factors For Ear Infections
Ear infections occur most commonly in young children because they have short and narrow Eustachian tubes. About of children develop an acute ear infection at some point.
Infants who are bottle-fed also have a higher incidence of ear infections than their breastfed counterparts.
Other factors that increase the risk of developing an ear infection are:
- altitude changes
- Take OTC decongestants like pseudoephedrine .
- Avoid sleeping on the affected ear.
What Causes Ear Infections In Dogs
These are some of the most common types of ear issues for dogs.
Yeast Overgrowth Yeast exists naturally in healthy ears, but can get out of balance causing a yeast infection. If your dogs ears are yeasty-smelling with a dark brown discharge, its often yeast overgrowth. Yeasty ears may be itchy but are usually not painful.
Bacterial Infection Your dog can also get bacterial infections in her ear. You may notice a bad-smelling yellow or greenish discharge.
Foreign Bodies Your dog can pick up grass seeds or foxtails, a bug, water from swimming, or even dirt in her ears. You may see her shaking her head but debris in the ears can cause irritation, bacteria or yeast overgrowth.
Aural Hematoma If your dog shakes her head or scratches it too hard, she can cause an aural hematoma. Its when a pool of blood forms between the skin and the ear flap cartilage. Most vets will recommend surgery but dont rush into it! There are gentler treatment options.
Ear Mites Ear mites are a parasite infection thats a type of mange Dogs with ear mites will often shake their heads and scratch their ears. Theyre common in young dogs and very contagious, so youll want to treat them fast. You can usually identify mites by the coffee-ground discharge they leave in the ear. The outer ear may also have reddish crustiness.
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When To See A Doctor About An Earache
Dr. Nguyen-Huynh recommends seeing a doctor if:
- Yoursymptoms remain after twoor three days, even if youve tried over-the-counter or home remedies.
- Yourear is very painful, oryou have other symptoms that bother you.
Other common conditions, such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction , can masquerade as earache infections. TMJ causes ear pain because the ear canal and the jaw joint share a nerve. If you have ear pain along with trouble chewing, talking or yawning, then you should see a dentist or TMJ expert to be sure youre treating the right condition, notes Dr. Nguyen-Huynh.
The good news? Hot and cold compresses and OTC pain relievers can also help relieve TMJ pain until you sort things out.
Infections Inside The Ear
Antibiotics are not usually offered because infections inside the ear often clear up on their own and antibiotics make little difference to symptoms, including pain.
Antibiotics might be prescribed if:
- an ear infection does not start to get better after 3 days
- you or your child has any fluid coming out of the ear
- you or your child has an illness that means there’s a risk of complications, such as cystic fibrosis
They may also be prescribed if your child is less than 2 years old and has an infection in both ears.
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When To See Your Doctor
If you or your child is having symptoms of an acute ear infection, like ear pain, fever, and trouble hearing, you should see your doctor. Getting an acute ear infection treated promptly can help prevent a chronic ear infection. You should also see your doctor if:
- you have been diagnosed with an acute ear infection but its not responding to treatment recommended by your doctor
- you have been diagnosed with an acute ear infection and experience new symptoms, or if the symptoms get worse
- if your child shows symptoms of a recurring ear infection
Chronic ear infections require medical treatment. However, home treatments can help relieve your symptoms. Home treatments include:
- holding a warm or cool washcloth to the painful area
- using numbing ear drops
- taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen
What Is A Middle Ear Infection
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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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
Natural Ear Infection Remedies
Are you struggling with symptoms of an ear infection and wondering how to cure an ear infection fast? Ear infections, whether they afflict adults or more commonly children, can be really unpleasant and outright painful.
Ear infections can be in the outer, middle or inner ear. For this article, Im going to focus on the most common type of ear infection, which is an infection of the middle ear.
According to the CDC, middle ear infections, may not need antibiotics in many cases because the bodys immune system can fight off the infection without help from antibiotics and a mild case often will get better on its own without antibiotic treatment, so your health care professional may recommend watchful waiting before prescribing antibiotics to you or your loved one.
So even conventional medicine agrees that antibiotics are often not the way to go, which means its time to talk about natural ear infection treatment and ear infection pain relief.
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Meningitis: Signs And Symptoms Of Infection
Meningococcal meningitis is a serious bacterial infection. It affects the protective lining of the brain and the spinal cord or meninges. Its usually spread via saliva or mucus. Kissing, living in close or communal spaces, or sharing cups and eating utensils are all ways to get the infection.
The most common and recognizable symptoms of meningitis include:
- sudden high fever and chills
- purple areas on the skin that look like bruises
The symptoms usually come on suddenly, within one week of being exposed to the bacteria.
Other less common symptoms of meningitis are:
- confusion, particularly in older adults
- nausea and vomiting
- rash, usually a symptom appearing during later stages
- drowsiness and fatigue
Children tend to display different symptoms of meningitis than adults. A stiff neck is a symptom in adults not often present in children. Symptoms in children also usually progress gradually.
Some symptoms common to young children include:
- red or purple rashlike areas on the skin
- projectile vomiting
There can be serious complications if meningitis goes untreated or if treatment is delayed. These complications may include:
- hydrocephalus, or fluid buildup and brain swelling
- myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart if the infection reaches it
- kidney failure
How Can I Treat An Ear Infection At Home
If youre wondering how can I treat an ear infection at home, then be sure to check out this list of tips and tricks on how to heal your ear infection faster. Remember to consult a medical healthcare professional if your symptoms persist.
What are you waiting for? The path to healing awaits!
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How Many Days Does A Viral Fever Last
two to three daystwo weeksGastroenteritis, on the other hand, attacks your intestines, causing signs and symptoms, such as:
- Watery, usually nonbloody diarrhea bloody diarrhea usually means you have a different, more severe infection.
- Abdominal cramps and pain.
- Occasional muscle aches or headache.
- Low-grade fever.
How Do You Check For Ear Infections
An instrument called a pneumatic otoscope is often the only specialized tool a doctor needs to diagnose an ear infection. This instrument enables the doctor to look in the ear and judge whether there is fluid behind the eardrum. With the pneumatic otoscope, the doctor gently puffs air against the eardrum.
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