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.
Simple Ways To Help Prevent Ear Infection In Children
Make sure your child washes their hands regularly to help protect them from germs. If possible, try to limit their time with other children who are infected, as this will help to prevent contagion.
Its also a good idea to avoid situations where your baby or child is exposed to second-hand smoke, as studies suggest that this leads to increased risk of ear infection in children.xiv
How Long Does Viral Fever Last In Children And Adults
Viral fever is not a medical condition by itself, but it is the most common symptom associated with any viral infection. It is a very common symptom that affects both children and adults. A large number of viruses have been identified, which are capable of causing viral infection. The signs and symptoms of viral fever, largely depends on the type of virus that causes the infection. In most of the cases, the condition is contagious and can easily affect other people who are in close contact with the patient. Unlike bacterial infection where antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria, there are no medications that can kill the viruses that cause the infection. The medications that are usually prescribed to patients with viral infection, provides palliative relief and helps in controlling the severity of the condition.
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How Long Does Influenza Viral Infection Last
- Influenza viral infection is also known as flu. There are four subtypes of influenza virus known as Influenza viruses A, B, C and D. The flue is active viral infection observed every winter season in the United States. Infection rapidly spreads in groups, school and during travelling in groups.
- Symptoms- High fever, running nose, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, cough and sneezing.
- Influenza Viral infection lasts for 3 to 5 days.
What Are The Causes
Bacteria or viruses in the middle ear cause ear infections.
A person who has, or had, an upper respiratory infection may also develop an ear infection. Ear infections are not contagious. However, the respiratory infections that might accompany an ear infection are.
Enlarged adenoids, which are pads of tissue at the back of the nose, may also contribute to a double ear infection, especially in children.
An infection affecting only one ear may also occasionally develop into a double ear infection.
Hearing difficulties are probably the most common short-term complication of a double ear infection.
A persons hearing will typically return to normal once the infection clears up.
Persistent or recurrent infections can lead to:
- Hearing problems: Permanent damage to structures within the ear can cause hearing loss of varying degrees.
- Ruptured eardrum: A torn eardrum may occur after severe ear infections. It will usually heal within a few weeks.
- Delays in speech and development: Infants and toddlers who experience a prolonged hearing loss may experience delays in their speech and development.
- Spread of infection: As with all infections, there is a risk that a double ear infection will spread to other areas of the body.
Long-term complications following ear infections are uncommon.
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When To See A Doctor
People should see their doctor if symptoms continue for more than 24 hours.
People who have pus or bloody discharge coming from one or both ears will likely require more urgent treatment.
When a parent or carer notices the signs of an ear infection in an infant under 6 months old, they should take the child to a doctor as soon as possible.
Older children should see a doctor if symptoms are severe or last for more than 24 hours, especially if they have a fever or discharge from the ear.
Can Ear Infections Affect Hearing
Fluid buildup in the middle ear also blocks sound, which can lead to temporary hearing problems. Kids having a problem might:
- not respond to soft sounds
- need to turn up the TV or radio
- talk louder
- seem inattentive at school
In kids who have otitis media with effusion, the fluid behind the eardrum can block sound, so mild temporary hearing loss can happen, but might not be obvious.
A child whose eardrum has ruptured might have ringing or buzzing in the ear and not hear as well as usual.
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The Doctor Has A Baseline To Assess The Child From
When the doctor sees the child on the first day of fever she/he has a baseline to assess the child from. In case the child develops a secondary bacterial infection after 4 days the doctor is able to identify the changes quickly because she/he knows that these signs were not present on the first day. This helps the doctor to make a decision about starting or not starting an antibiotic. Otherwise unnecessary antibiotics may be started because secondary bacterial infection is suspected even when it is actually just viral fever going on for longer than 4 days.
What Are The Treatments For Ear Infections
If your pediatrician recommends antibiotics, shell usually start with amoxicillin, an effective and safe antibiotic for bacterial infections that is one of the most commonly prescribed for young children. Whether or not your doctor opts for antibiotics or a watch-and-wait approach, rest and fluids are key as with any childhood respiratory infection or virus.
For pain relief at home, your pediatrician will usually recommend Acetaminophen for babies under 6 months and Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen for children 6 months and older. Remember that according to the CDC, over-the-counter cough medicines should not be given to children under 4 and should only be given to older children with your doctors approval. Recent research has shown that the negatives of these OTC medicines often outweigh any benefits.
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Is It A Bacterial Infection Or Virus
Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria, while viral infections are caused by viruses. That’s the easy part. Differentiating between the two requires medical intervention since;both may cause fever and irritability. And the treatments vary significantly. Pediatrician Betty Staples, MD, offers advice on how to tell the difference between these two types of infection.
Every day, parents bring their children to the pediatrician for help in determining whether their sick child has “just a cold” or something more.
Children’s colds result in 22 million missed school days and 20 million parental missed days of work every year. In most cases, these are the “just a cold” variety of virus. However, we also know that other, less common infections can develop in our children, and these need evaluation by the pediatrician to determine if antibiotics are required.
Symptoms Of Ear Infection
Babies and small children might:
- pull or rub their ear
- have a high temperature
- have redness around the ear
- be restless or irritable
- not respond to noises that would normally attract their attention
See your doctor if:
- your child is in pain
- there is discharge from the child’s ear
- your child is unwell or vomiting
- your child can’t hear properly
- there is swelling behind the ear and the ear is being pushed forward
- your child keeps getting ear infections
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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.
Ear Infection Medicine For Kids
Clinical practice guidelines recommend using analgesics such as paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain relief, as they can ease the pain of otitis media and help relieve fever.x;;
- Paracetamol can be given to babies older than 1 month to help relieve mild to moderate pain.xi
- Ibuprofen;can be used for mild to moderate pain in children, adolescents and adults. It should not be used in children under three months of age, or those with bleeding disorders.xi
- Aspirin should never be given to children under the age of 12, unless advised by your doctor. It can cause a rare but serious illness called Reyes Syndrome.xi
- Never poke anything into your childs ear, even if they complain that their ear feels blocked.xii
- Dont use ear drops unless theyre prescribed by a doctor or youve discussed them with a pharmacist.xii
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Ask The Doctor: How Long Do Ear Infections Last
It is important to know how long do ear infections last, especially when you develop one yourself. Knowing how your body reacts to a certain disease and how long it takes for it to recover can give you the necessary confidence to keep pushing forward.
There is no room for fear once you are fighting to get better. Sometimes the only thing you can and should do is be patient, trust your treatment, and endure the time that it takes for you to finally prevail.
In this article, you will find out exactly how long do ear infections last and how they are usually treated.
Can I Do Anything To Prevent Ear Infections In My Child
It is not easy to prevent ear infections, but the following may help reduce the risk:
- keeping your child smoke-free
- breastfeeding your baby for at least 3 to 6 months is thought to be protective against the early development of ear infections – this may be because breastfeeding boosts the infection-fighting system
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Healing Time In Different Sections Of The Ear
The infections persist in the middle, the outer and inner part of the ear. Every part has its unique features. As a result healing time also depends on the section of the ear.
- Outer Causes of outer ear infection are different from a middle ear infection. The most common type of infection in the outer ear is bacterial infections. But fungal and viral infections can occur as well. It can last for a week or longer. Its symptoms are severe pain in the ear, purulent discharge, fever, etc.
- Middle The infection shouldnt last more than one or two days. After an ear infection clears up, fluid may remain in the middle ear and cause some of the more mild symptoms and can persist for several weeks to months. This condition is diagnosed as otitis media with effusion. Its symptoms are ear pain, feeling like your ear is clogged, Nausea, Reduced Hearing.
- Inner The infection exists for a long time in this section. Most commonly, viral is the reason for the inner ear infection. These viruses can be most of the flu and cold. Its symptoms are pain, fever, and reduced hearing. Nausea and tinnitus can also occur in an inner ear infection.
The Eustachian tube drains fluid and air from the middle ear. Blockage in the Eustachian tube may cause fluid to build up. This causes pain since it applies pressure on the eardrum. The fluid is also a fertile ground for bacteria growth and this leads to an ear infection.
Tips To Manage Ear Pain In Children
In most cases, otitis media improves in the first few days, and symptoms usually clear up without any treatment within a week or twoix. If the infection is causing your child discomfort, there are ways to manage the pain at home. Learn more about how to manage earache and ear infections in children.
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How To Help Prevent Ear Infections
While most children get ear infections, there are a few things parents can do to try to prevent them:
- Breast feeding infants until at least age 6 months may help to lessen the number of ear infections.
- Keep your child away from cigarette smoke. Do not smoke or allow smoking in your home or car.
- Always hold your baby with his head up during feeding time . Babies should not be fed by propping the bottle or while lying flat.The formula can get into the middle ear and cause an infection.
- Do notleave a bottle in the crib for the baby to drink at bedtime.
- Make sure your childs immunizations are up to date.
- If your child is diagnosed with acute otitis media, avoid giving him a pacifier.Dress your child properly in cold and rainy weather.
What Is ‘viral Persistence’ And How Does That Affect The Course Of The Disease
Sometimes the coronavirus sticks around longer than expectedand scientists are still trying to figure out why that happens in some patients, how it varies by individual, and exactly how long the virus stays alive inside the body. This is known as viral persistence, and it affects how long someone is contagious and therefore how long they should stay in isolation.;
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How Long Will It Take My Child To Get Better
Your child should start feeling better within a few days after visiting the doctor. If its been several days and your child still seems sick, call your doctor. Your child might need a different antibiotic. Once the infection clears, fluid may still remain in the middle ear but usually disappears within three to six weeks.
Ear Infections In Babies And Toddlers
Ear infections in babies and toddlers are extremely common. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, five out of six children will experience an ear infection before their third birthday.
“Many parents are concerned that an ear infection will affect their child’s hearing irreversiblyor that an ear infection will go undetected and untreated,” says David Tunkel, M.D., Johns Hopkins Medicine pediatric otolaryngologist . “The good news is that most ear infections go away on their own, and those that don’t are typically easy to treat.”
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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.;
Danger Of Misusing Antibiotics
Before considering a myringotomy, many doctors prescribe a long course of antibiotics as a preventive measure. This can reduce the number of infections a child gets, but it also promotes the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To help minimize the overuse of antibiotics, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that antibiotics be withheld if there’s fluid but no sign of infection or fever.
Some pediatricians, however, will cave in to a parent’s request to prescribe antibiotics even when they’re not warranted, simply because the parent expects a prescription. It’s important that you don’t pressure your pediatrician to prescribe antibiotics if they’re not necessary. If your doctor does prescribe antibiotics, it’s vital that your child completes the entire course. Not finishing a round of antibiotics can set the stage for antibiotic resistance.
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What Is A Fever
A fever is normally a short-term rise in temperature that helps your body get rid of illness. A fever begins when your immune system makes more white blood cells to fight an infection. The increase in white blood cells triggers your brain to heat your body up.
This causes a fever. In response, your body tries to cool itself off by tightening up on blood flow to your skin and contracting muscles. This makes you shiver and may cause muscle aches.
Your normal body temperature ranges from 97°F to 99°F . You may have a fever if your temperature rises above this.
Symptoms Of Middle Ear Infections
Infection can cause:
- Earache mild to severe pain in the ear or face or pulling at the ear and irritability in an infant
- Fever a high temperature might be the only symptom in babies or young children
- Mild deafness caused by fluid which builds up from the infection
- Ear discharge this happens when the eardrum bursts because of pressure behind it.
Children usually recover from mild infections in three to five hours, although your child may feel tired afterwards.
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Stop Using Soaps And Cleaners That Kill Germs
The cells of the immune system are like soldiers of an army. They need to live among the enemy in this case germs to practice shooting their guns. When we kill all the germs around our children with disinfectants in floor cleaners and soaps they lose practice and cannot fight the disease-causing virus when it attacks.
How Long Does Viral Infection Last In Children And Adults
On the average viral fever lasts for 1 to 5 days; however, in serious cases the fever may be persistent and recurrent. In most of the cases, the duration of the viral infection depends on multiple factors. This includes:
- Health status of the patient
- Immune response of the patient
- Type of causative agent .
For example, common cold caused by rhinoviruses, gives rise to fever which lasts for 1 to 2 days; whereas viral flu caused by influenza virus causes fever which may last for 2 to 3 days. Fever caused by adenovirus, which infects the respiratory tract and intestinal tract, can last for 3 to 5 days. Rotavirus causing gastroenteritis, gives rise with mild to moderate fever, which last for 1 to 2 days. Fever associated with hand-foot-and-mouth disease caused by coxsackie viruses, is generally low fever lasting for 2 to 3 days. Though most of the fever lasts for 1 to 5 days, severe condition can cause persistently high fever lasting for more than a week . If the fever is abnormally high and it is difficult to bring down the temperature, the condition must be treated as an emergency and provided medical assistance at the earliest.
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How Long Do Upper Respiratory Infections Last
When are feeling crummy with a cold or upper respiratory infection, usually the first thing you want to know is how to treat the illness. The next question that patients typically ask is how long they will be sick and feeling the symptoms that they are feeling. So, we attempt to answer as best we can, How long do upper respiratory infections last?.
Mild infections typically last about 3 to 7 days, with more severe infections lasting about 14 days. If your symptoms linger longer, you could have another type of infection, such as sinusitis, an allergy, bronchitis, or pneumonia. While you are coughing, sneezing and experiencing a sore throat, you may be contagious. Upper respiratory infections are the most common type of illness that keeps people out of work. If our online doctors are treating you, and you need an online doctor note, you can request one during your virtual doctor appointment session.
Upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses 98% of the time. Depending on the virus the symptoms may last longer or shorter. Each virus also varies with regards to the onset of the symptoms from the time that the virus entered the body. This period is called the incubation time. While antibiotics are rarely needed in the case of upper respiratory infection treatment, home remedies are very effective at treating the various symptoms that you might be encountering.
Symptoms In Babies And Younger Children
In babies and younger children, sometimes the only sign of an ear infection is a fever.
Younger children may also:
- cry and become very upset, distressed, irritable and hard to deal with
- have very disturbed sleep at the beginning of the infection
- be harder to settle to sleep
- vomit, lose interest in eating, seem to have no energy
- become ‘clingy’ and ‘grizzly’
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How Do Ear Infections Happen
A middle ear infection usually happens because of swelling in one or both of the eustachian tubes . The tubes let mucus drain from the middle ear into the throat.
A cold, throat infection, acid reflux, or allergies can make the eustachian tubes swell. This blocks the mucus from draining. Then, or grow in the mucus and make pus, which builds up in the middle ear.
When doctors refer to an ear infection, they usually mean otitis media rather than swimmer’s ear . Otitis media with effusion is when noninfected fluid builds up in the ear. It might not cause symptoms, but in some kids, the fluid creates a sensation of ear fullness or “popping.”
When To Seek Care
Fever can be an indication of many illnesses, not just COVID-19. However, if you have any COVID-19 symptoms and may have been exposed to the virus, speak with a health professional immediately. There are medications and treatments that can help reduce the possibility of serious disease.
If you run a temperature of 100.4°F or greater, get tested. Early testing can help ensure better outcomes.
No matter what the possible cause, high fevers such as these should always prompt a call to a health professional:
- Infants: rectal temperature of 100.4°F or higher.
- Toddlers and children: temperature over 102.2°F .
- Adults: temperature of 103 F or higher potentially a sign of serious COVID-19 disease.
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