Where Can I Find Additional Information About Ear Infections
The NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that provide information on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language.
Use the following keywords to help you search for organizations that can answer questions and provide printed or electronic information on ear infections:
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.
Who Is At Higher Risk For Ear Infections
- Children less than 5 years old, because they have shorter eustachian tubes.
- Children who attend daycare, because they tend to have more colds.
- Children with allergies.
- Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke. Smoke causes inflammation of the eustachian tube, making ear infections more likely.
- Children who were not breastfed. Breast milk has antibodies that help fight infections.
- Babies who are being bottle fed, especially if they swallow milk while lying too flat. Milk can enter the eustachian tube and cause inflammation, which increases the risk of an ear infection. Children should be held upright while drinking a bottle. When they are old enough to hold their own bottle well, they should be taught to drink from a regular cup and no longer given a bottle.
- Children with cleft palates, as their eustachian tubes are often inflamed.
- Children of First Nations and Inuit descent, though its not clear why.
Don’t Miss: Dr Lano Ent New Braunfels
What Causes Ear Infections
Unfortunately, some breeds are just more prone to ear infections. In dogs, some of these breeds include Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles, or Old English Sheepdogs while in cats they are common to Himalayans and Persians.
Beyond your pets breed, an ear inflammation can also surface due to bacteria, yeast, worms, mites or a combination of these. Some of the issues can be caused by moisture, which holds bacteria and yeast others may come from parasites found in hedges, or heavily wooded areas. Puppies and cats especially, can also get infections from ear mites. It is very important to watch your pet and make sure they don’t get into dirty lakes or dense bushes where these creatures like to reside.
Even though these causes are more common, here are some more culprits that may cause ear infections:
How Are Middle Ear Infections Diagnosed
Your family doctor will ask questions about your child’s recent and past health and examine your child’s ears. To do this they will use an instrument called an otoscope to look at your child’s ear canal and eardrum. An otoscope contains both a small powerful light and a low power magnifying lens.
Most infants and children do not like having their ears examined. To make it easier, your doctor will probably encourage you to hold your child on your lap and hug their arms and body while your doctor looks inside your child’s ear. Checking your child’s ears should not be painful. Make sure to hold your child securely. If your child moves during this examination it can be painful for them and make it more difficult to examine their ears both now and in the future.
Read Also: What Is Poop In Sign Language
How Long Do Ear Infections Last
Severe symptoms usually last for less then one to two days. If such symptoms last longer than one to two days, then it is important to consult with a doctor.
If symptoms do not go away and are left untreated, they can lead to complications and in rare cases more serious health issues
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.
How Are Dog Ear Infections Treated
Your veterinarian will thoroughly clean your dogs ears using a medicated ear cleanser. Your vet may also prescribe an ear cleanser and a topical medication for you to use at home. In severe cases, your vet may prescribe oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications.
Most uncomplicated ear infections resolve within 12 weeks, once appropriate treatment begins. But severe infections or those due to underlying conditions may take months to resolve, or may become chronic problems. In cases of severe chronic disease where other treatments have failed, your veterinarian may recommend surgery such as a Total Ear Canal Ablation . A TECA surgery removes the ear canal, thus removing the diseased tissue and preventing the recurrence of infection.
It is important to follow your veterinarians instructions closely and return to the veterinary hospital for any recommended recheck appointments. Lapses in your dogs treatment may lead to the recurrence of the infection. It is especially important that you finish the full course of your dogs medication, even if your dog appears to be getting better. Failure to finish the full course of treatment may lead to additional problems such as resistant infections.
Read Also: How To Clean Cocker Spaniels Ears
How Is An Ear Infection Treated
- If a child doesnt have too much discomfort or a high fever, the doctor will likely wait 24 to 48 hours to see if the ear infection gets better on its own. If the child does not improve or gets worse, you should take them back to the doctor.|
- You childs doctor will prescribe antibiotics if:
- your child is moderately to severely ill with a high fever ,
- your child has severe pain,
- the condition has not improved for 48 hours, or
- the ear canal has new fluid.
For an uncomplicated ear infection, children between 6 months and 2 years usually take an antibiotic for 10 days. Children over 2 years of age will take an antibiotic for 5 days.
The doctor might suggest acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the childs pain. Only give ibuprofen if your child is drinking reasonably well. Do not give ibuprofen to babies under 6 months old without first talking to your doctor.
Do not give over-the-counter medications to babies and children under 6 years without first talking to your doctor. The only exceptions are medications used to treat fever, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Children usually feel better within 1 day of starting an antibiotic. Your doctor might want to see your child again to be sure the infection has cleared up completely. Fluid can remain in the middle ear without inflammation for a few weeks.
What Is An Inner Ear Infection
Inner ear infections usually develop when a virus attacks the inner ear or the nerve branches that run through it. Most inner ear infections are viral. In some cases, the infection directly affects the labyrinth or vestibulocochlear nerve. In others, a virus like measles, influenza, or mononucleosis affects the entire body including the inner ear.
Bacterial infections are less common. Most of the time, a bacterial inner ear infection happens because of a chronic middle ear infection. Toxins from this infection invade the inner ear structures and nerve. In rarer cases, the bacteria themselves invade the labyrinth from the middle ear or the cerebrospinal fluid that flows in or around the brain.
Symptoms of inner ear infections usually come on quickly. Symptoms can be mild to severe and include:
- Ringing in the ear
- Feelings of fullness in the ear
Different types of inner ear infections cause different symptoms. The two main types of inner ear infections are:
- Neuronitis, which only affects the branch of the nerve that controls balance
- Labyrinthitis, which causes inflammation and irritation of the vestibulocochlear nerve
The primary difference is that labyrinthitis causes hearing-related symptoms, while neuronitis doesnt. Your treatment will depend primarily on whether you have a viral or bacterial infection.
Don’t Miss: Sign Language For Im Sorry
Signs In Young Children
As babies are unable to communicate the source of their discomfort, it can be difficult to tell what’s 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
The Best Course Of Action
For most sufferers, Ali advises the best course of action is to increase fluid intake, take appropriate pain relief and speak with a healthcare professional for further assessment of symptoms.
If symptoms persist for more than two days or include a fever, loin pain and/or nausea and vomiting it is important to see your GP for advice on whether antibiotics are required. Its also important to go back if youve been started on antibiotics and symptoms do not improve within 48 hours.
While some of the over-the-counter treatments may provide symptomatic relief, the 2018 NICE UTI guidelines state that there is no evidence found for cranberry products or urine alkalinising agents to treat UTI, he adds. However, theres a clinical trial showing the effectiveness of D-mannose. And grapefruit seed extract and oil of oregano have also been found to be beneficial.
Read Also: How To Turn On Hearing Aid Mode On Iphone
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.
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Connect Phonak Hearing Aids To Iphone
How Dangerous Are Untreated Ear Infections In Adults
Itchiness or pain. Trouble hearing. Fluid leaking out of the ears. These symptoms may have been all too common when we were kids, but as an adult, the signs of an ear infection are probably something you have not felt in quite some time. While ear infectionsmiddle ear infections in particularare more common in children, they are not unheard of in adults. In this blog post we explore the risks and complications of leaving an ear infection untreated in adults.
In our last blog, we talked about the difference between middle ear infections , and outer ear infections , more commonly known as swimmers ear. Otitis media is caused by either bacteria or viruses. A common cold, the flu, or allergy symptoms that cause congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat, and eustachian tubes can sometimes lead to an infection. Anything that makes the nose stuffy has a tendency to cause swelling and blockage of the eustachian tubes. Swelling from colds or allergies can keep the eustachian tubes from opening and this leads to pressure changes and the accumulation of fluid in the middle ear. This pressure and fluid will cause pain and sometimes persistent fluid can lead to an infection.
Untreated chronic ear infections can also cause tears in the eardrum. These tears will typically heal within a few days, though in more extreme cases, surgical repair might be required.
Ear Infection Treatments
Ear Infection Prevention
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 .
Don’t Miss: Dehydration And Tinnitus
How Middle Ear Infections Are Treated
Make sure any painkillers you give to your child are appropriate for their age. Read more about giving your child painkillers.
Antibiotics aren’t routinely used to treat middle ear infections, although they may occasionally be prescribed if symptoms persist or are particularly severe.
Read more about treating middle ear infections
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.
Don’t Miss: Sorry In Sign Language Baby
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.
What Causes Ear Infections In Dogs
The canine ear canal is more vertical than that of a human, forming an L-shape that tends to hold in fluid. This makes dogs more prone to ear infections. Ear infections are typically caused by bacteria, yeast, or a combination of both. In puppies, ear mites can also be a source of infection.
Factors that may predispose your dog to ear infections include:
- Moisture, which can create a prime growing environment for bacteria and yeast
- Allergies, which lead to ear disease in about 50 percent of dogs with allergic skin disease and 80 percent of dogs with food sensitivities
- Endocrine disorders, such as thyroid disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Injury to the ear canal
- Excessive cleaning
Recommended Reading: Alcohol Ringing Ears
What Happens If An Ear Infection Is Left Untreated
A chronic ear infection can cause several problems if left untreated. Possible complications include: There are a number of things you can do to help reduce your and your childs risk of developing a chronic ear infection. Make sure to talk to your doctor if you have an acute ear infection so it can be treated and doesnt become chronic.
When Should I Seek Help For My Child With An Ear Infection
The symptoms of ear infections also happen in other illnesses. For this reason, if you suspect your child has an ear infection, take them to your family doctor. Your doctor will examine your child to see if an ear infection is the cause of your child’s symptoms.
Once an ear infection is diagnosed, your child should start to improve within 24 to 48 hours. If the symptoms are no better or are getting worse, or you are worried about your child, take them back to your family doctor.
Always take your child to your family doctor for an ear check 4 to 6 weeks after any ear infection, to make sure the ear fluid has gone.
Always take your child to your family doctor for an ear check after any ear infection, to make sure the ear fluid has gone. Go to your doctor again 4 to 6 weeks after the ear infection.
You should also take your child to your family doctor if:
- your child’s ear starts to discharge
- your child has a fever which does not go away after 24 – 48 hours
- you are worried about how unwell your child is
There are some very rare complications of ear infections. You need to take your child to a doctor immediately if your child:
- has any swelling, redness or tenderness in or around the ear
- is feeding poorly
- is floppy, sleepy or drowsy
- is becoming less responsive
- is not interested in surroundings
- complains of a stiff neck or light hurting their eyes
If your child keeps getting frequent ear infections, they may need to see an ENT specialist to consider grommets. See ‘Grommets ‘.
Recommended Reading: Compilot Pairing