What Causes Labyrinthitis Is It Contagious
The exact cause of labyrinthitis is unknown. It may be caused by swelling or problems with the nerve inside the brain responsible for balance and hearing. Labyrinthitis also may occur during or after a viral infection. Viruses associated with labyrinthitis include influenza, herpes viruses, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus, and polio.
Rarely, other ear problems like barotrauma or otosclerosis can cause labyrinthitis.
Labyrinthitis itself is not contagious, however, viral infections that lead to labyrinthitis are.
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The Overlooked Signs Of An Ear Infection
As you can see, there are far more signs of an ear infection than just drainage from the ear.
An ear infection can cause a range of symptoms, not just in your ears.
If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from an ear infection, contact us. We can examine your ears and measure any fluid buildup. We can then give you the right treatment to provide fast relief.
How Have The Treatments Of Ear Infections Improved Over Time
Technology and advancements have improved the treatment of ear infections. Today, many over-the-counter medications are available to help alleviate pain. Fast pain relief is often the focus of treatment, especially with children. There are also advanced minimally invasive procedures such as eustachian tube dilation that can prevent chronic ear infections from occurring to relieve pain and other issues.
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What Causes A Fungal Ear Infection
Earwax protects the lining of the ear from fungus so anything that reduces the amount of wax will allow a fungal infection to take hold. Eczema of the skin inside the ear can be another risk factor.
The outside temperature plays a significant part. Fungi grow faster in the heat, so it’s more common in warmer climates. In the UK it occurs more often in summer than in winter.
9 out of 10 fungal infections are due to a fungus belonging to the Aspergillus species and the rest are caused by a fungus of the Candida species.
What’s The Difference Between The Middle Ear Infections We Get As Children Versus The Middle Ear Infections We Get As Adults
Dr. Wang: The underlying causes are usually different. They are more frequent in children because their shorter, more horizontal Eustachian tubes are more likely to get blocked. Also, their adenoids are larger compared to the rest of the throat and can interfere with the opening of the Eustachian tubes. And finally, children’s immune systems are immature and colds and viruses are often passed around day care and school.
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What Should I Do About An Ear Infection
If its only been a couple of days and the only symptom has been ear pain, you dont need to head to the doctor right away. Because many ear infections go away on their own, its likely your doctor will want to wait and see how the symptoms improve before providing prescription medicines.
In the meantime, focus on getting lots of rest. Sleeping strengthens the immune system and helps the body fight off infections and other sickness.
If the ear infection is causing pain or discomfort, there are treatments for ear infections you can try at home. One of the simplest is using a warm compress to dull the pain. Just soak a washcloth in warm water, wring out the excess water and then hold it against the infected ear for up to 20 minutes. If it helps, reapply the compress throughout the day.
If your child is over 3 months old, an over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen can also help with the pain just make sure youre using an age-appropriate dose. If you have questions, contact your doctor or nurse line.
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.
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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 the infection is fungal, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal medication.
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.
To help prevent an ear infection of any kind, follow these tips:
- Make sure you dry your ears completely after swimming or taking a shower.
- Try quitting smoking, and limit or avoid secondhand smoke when possible.
- Manage your allergies by avoiding triggers and keeping up with allergy medications.
- Wash your hands thoroughly, and try to limit contact with people who have colds or other upper respiratory problems.
- Make sure your vaccines are up to date.
How Is A Middle
Your health care provider will take a medical history and do a physicalexam. He or she will look at the outer ear and eardrum with an otoscope.The otoscope is a lighted tool that lets your provider see inside the ear.A pneumatic otoscope blows a puff of air into the ear to check how wellyour eardrum moves. If you eardrum doesnt move well, it may mean you havefluid behind it.
Your provider may also do a test called tympanometry. This test tells howwell the middle ear is working. It can find any changes in pressure in themiddle ear. Your provider may test your hearing with a tuning fork.
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If Youre Feeling A Little Unsteady On Your Feet Its Not Just In Your Head It Might Actually Be In Your Ears
Weve all experienced dizziness after a boat trip, an amusement park ride or spinning in a circle as a kid. But if you feel like youve just gotten off a roller coaster even if youve hardly moved, you could have a balance problem related to your inner ear. Heres how it happens.
Your inner ear has three canals that sense different types of movement: up and down, side to side, turning in any direction and tilting. These canals are filled with fluid within that fluid are floating membranes with tiny cells that send signals to your brain. That special sensory information, combined with what you see and feel, helps you navigate the physical world. The brain ultimately interprets all of this incoming sensory information and translates it into coordination, balance and movement. If those incoming signals are thrown off, you can experience dizziness, nausea or a feeling that the world is spinning. You may even feel like youre about to fall down. Several different conditions can cause your inner earbalance system to become off-kilter, but thankfully they can be managed with help from a doctor.
Signs In Young Children
As babies are unable to communicate the source of their discomfort, it can be difficult to tell whats wrong with them. Signs that a young child might have an ear infection include:
- raised temperature
- pulling, tugging or rubbing their ear
- irritability, poor feeding or restlessness at night
- coughing or a runny nose
- unresponsiveness to quiet sounds or other signs of difficulty hearing, such as inattentiveness
- loss of balance
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Will It Happen Again And Can It Be Prevented
Most children have at least two bouts of ear infection before they are 5 years old. These are caused by common viral infections which circulate in the general population and against which your child is not immune. There is generally nothing you can do to prevent the infection from occurring. However, there is some evidence to suggest that an ear infection is less likely to develop:
- In breastfed children.
- In children who live in a smoke-free home.
- In babies and young children who do not use dummies. However, research studies have shown that the use of a dummy in young babies when getting off to sleep can reduce the risk of cot death. So, consider using a dummy in babies up to 6-12 months old at the start of each episode of sleep. But note:
- Do not force a dummy on a baby who does not want one. If the dummy falls out when a baby is asleep, just leave it out.
- Never coat a dummy with anything such as sugar.
- Clean and replace dummies regularly.
- It is best to use a dummy only to help a baby get to sleep.
- Consider stopping dummy use at around 6-12 months old.
Occasionally, some children have recurring bouts of ear infections close together. If this occurs, a specialist may advise a long course of antibiotics to prevent further bouts from occurring.
What Are The Symptoms Of Otitis Media
Symptoms of ear infection include:
- Ear pain: This symptom is obvious in older children and adults. In infants too young to speak, look for signs of pain like rubbing or tugging ears, crying more than usual, trouble sleeping, acting fussy/irritable.
- Loss of appetite: This may be most noticeable in young children, especially during bottle feedings. Pressure in the middle ear changes as the child swallows, causing more pain and less desire to eat.
- Irritability: Any kind of continuing pain may cause irritability.
- Poor sleep: Pain may be worse when the child is lying down because the pressure in the ear may worsen.
- Fever: Ear infections can cause temperatures from 100° F up to 104° F. Some 50% of children will have a fever with their ear infection.
- Drainage from the ear: Yellow, brown, or white fluid that is not earwax may seep from the ear. This may mean that the eardrum has ruptured .
- Trouble hearing: Bones of the middle ear connect to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain. Fluid behind the eardrums slows down movement of these electrical signals through the inner ear bones.
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When Else Are Antibiotics Needed
Antibiotics can be the right treatment for kids who get a lot of ear infections. Their doctors might prescribe daily antibiotics to help prevent future infections. And younger children or those with more severe illness may need antibiotics right from the start.
The wait-and-see approach also might not apply to children with other concerns, such as cleft palate, genetic conditions such as Down syndrome, or other illnesses such as immune system disorders.
What Other Types Of Ear Infections Affect Adults
Dr. Wang: A middle ear infection, or otitis media, is most frequently associated with children, but adults get them as well. This type of ear infection happens when viruses or bacteria get into the middle ear the space behind the eardrum. The middle ear fills with pus or infected fluid. The pus pushes on the eardrum, which can be very painful. Middle ear infections are caused by swelling in one or both of the Eustachian tubes. The Eustachian tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the throat and act as release valves to equalize pressure within the middle ear. When that process is interfered with, that’s when infections can develop.
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How Do I Know If My Child Has An Ear Infection
Older children will usually complain of an earache. While younger children might not be able to say they have an earache, they may:
- have an unexplained fever,
- tug or pull at their ears, or
- have trouble hearing quiet sounds.
Some children with an ear infection may also have fluid draining from the ear.
Causes Of Ear Infection In Adults
Outer Ear Infection Causes
Swimmers ear is frequently caused by bacteria that is usually found in soil and water. Viral or fungal infections are less common. The following conditions can provoke the bacterial growth in your ear:
- Excess moisture in the ear
- Various sensitivity reactions
- Abrasions or scratches in the ear canal
Middle Ear Infection Causes
Most common causes of the middle ear infection are related to swollen or blocked Eustachian tubes, promoting fluids to build up in the middle ear. Examples of such causes are:
- Colds, flu, and sinus infections
- Smoking or inhalation of irritants
- Overgrown or infected adenoids
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When To Call Your Doctor
You should talk to your doctor or pediatrician about any ear infections and if you or your child has the following symptoms:
- Fever greater than 101 F
- Severe ear pain and drainage from the ear
- A stiff neck
- Pus or blood in the outer ear
Also call your pediatrician if your child is sluggish, cant stop crying despite efforts to soothe, shows signs of weakness, has a crooked smile, and/or is not walking straight.
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 medications may also be used to manage your symptoms.
If youre still experiencing cold or allergy symptoms, you may be advised to take a , nasal steroids, or an antihistamine.
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 gently exhaling. This can send air through the eustachian tubes to help drain them.
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When Do Children Need Tubes In Their Ears
If your child has frequent ear infections, or if they have trouble hearing because of ongoing fluid in the middle ear, they may need a tube inserted through the eardrum and into the middle ear. The tube helps to keep air pressure normal on both sides of the ear drum and helps fluid drain from the middle ear.
Putting tubes in requires a brief operation by an ear, nose and throat surgeon. Children can usually go home the same day.
Home Remedies For Ear Infections:
The main home remedy is to help them feel better.
The main thing Ive ever had luck with is some mild heat on that side. So, take a warm microwaveable heat pack and just lay on it. That helps quite a lot.
Clearly, Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help as well .
If youve ever used something else to treat an ear infection, Id love to know in the comments!
Essential Oils for Ear Infections:
Personally, the only thing Ive ever had luck with is some lemon oil below my ear area and down onto my neck. I would guess, because it smells lemon-y you could also try Pain Ease.
Note: I would dilute both of those into a roller bottle with some type of carrier oil .
To make a roller bottle, you decide how concentrated you want the oil to be . BUT, it depends on how hot the oil feels so you might want to consult where you purchased the oil.
Roller bottles save you MONEY, but using less of the more-expensive essential oil, AND they make it easier to use the oil as it spreads better over your body.
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Will Ear Infections Get Better On Their Own
Some ear infections resolve on their own. Often, they get better when the underlying cause goes away. But in some cases, they hang on. If your ear still hurts after your cold clears up or your allergies have calmed down, make an appointment at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care.
If you have the following symptoms, come in right away:
- Severe pain
- Hearing loss
When you need urgent care, we offer same-day and walk-in appointments. Dr. Lee may prescribe antibiotics to help you fight the infection, ear drops that go straight to the source, pain relievers, or anti-inflammatories.
More important, he investigates the reason for your ear infections and treats the underlying cause to help you avoid repeat infections.
Left untreated, ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss, so dont ignore the symptoms. To schedule an appointment, call or book online.
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How Is An Ear Infection Diagnosed
- Ear infections are diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination of the ear with an otoscope, an instrument that is a light with a cone at the tip to visualize inside the ear canal, to check for inflammation in the ear canal.
- Tympanometry may also be performed to check for changes in pressure in the middle ear.
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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.