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.
A New Study Finds That A Shorter Course Of Medication Works Just As Well As Longer Therapy
Good news: You might be able to shorten the time you take antibiotics. For decades, doctors have advised patients to take the drugs for at least a week or two, even if they feel better after just a few days. But a new study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that, in some cases, a shorter course of antibiotics works just as welland is safer.
In the study, published July 25 in JAMA Internal Medicine, Spanish researchers examined the use of antibiotics in 312 adults who had bacterial pneumonia severe enough to require hospitalization. The approximately half of patients randomized to standard care wound up taking antibiotics for an average of 10 days. In the other half, doctors stopped the drugs after 5 days as long as the patients didnt have a fever and appeared to be on the mend.
Ten days after the start of treatment, researchers found that patients who stopped the drugs early were faring just as well as those who kept taking them; after a month, the vast majority of both groups had recovered. In fact, only 1.4 percent of patients in the short-treatment group wound up being readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, compared to 6.6 percent of those who took antibiotics for twice as long.
Previous research has shown that a short course of treatment also works well against mild-to-moderate cases of pneumonia in patients treated outside the hospital.
What Is An Ear Infection
There are different types of ear infections. Middle ear infection is an infection in the middle ear.
Another condition that affects the middle ear is called otitis media with effusion. It occurs when fluid builds up in the middle ear without being infected and without causing fever, ear pain, or pus build-up in the middle ear.
When the outer ear canal is infected, the condition is called swimmers ear, which is different from a middle ear infection. For more information, visit Swimmers Ear .
Don’t Miss: Can A Tooth Infection Cause Tinnitus
When Do Children Need Tubes In Their Ears
If your child has frequent ear infections, or if he has trouble hearing because of ongoing fluid in the middle ear, he may need a tube inserted through the ear drum 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 usually go home the same day.
Who Is Most Likely To Get An Ear Infection
Middle ear infection is the most common childhood illness . Ear infections occur most often in children who are between age 3 months and 3 years, and are common until age 8. Some 25% of all children will have repeated ear infections.
Adults can get ear infections too, but they dont happen nearly as often as they do in children.
Risk factors for ear infections include:
- Age: Infants and young children are at greater risk for ear infections.
- Family history: The tendency to get ear infections can run in the family.
- Colds: Having colds often increases the chances of getting an ear infection.
- Allergies: Allergies cause inflammation of the nasal passages and upper respiratory tract, which can enlarge the adenoids. Enlarged adenoids can block the eustachian tube, preventing ear fluids from draining. This leads to fluid buildup in the middle ear, causing pressure, pain and possible infection.
- Chronic illnesses: People with chronic illnesses are more likely to develop ear infections, especially patients with immune deficiency and chronic respiratory disease, such as cystic fibrosis and asthma.
- Ethnicity: Native Americans and Hispanic children have more ear infections than other ethnic groups.
You May Like: What Is Live Listen On Resound Hearing Aids
Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your childs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Treatment for an Ear Infection
When Antibiotics Are Used
Antibiotics are typically only prescribed for AOM.
OME and COME occur after an infection has already occurred. Antibiotics cant treat fluid buildup if theres no active infection.
An antibiotic may be prescribed for an active ear infection once your doctor has examined your ear and has determined you exhibit signs and symptoms of AOM or swimmers ear.
Frequent or recurring ear infections should also be addressed with a doctor. Due to concerns with antibiotic resistance, recurring ear infections or COME shouldnt always be treated with antibiotics.
Depending on the severity of your ear infection, your doctor may hold off on prescribing antibiotics.
Don’t Miss: What Is Conductive Hearing Loss Mean
Middle Ear Infection: Will Antibiotics Help Relieve Symptoms In Babies And Toddlers
Middle ear infections will usually clear up within a few days, with or without treatment. But can speed up recovery in children under two years of age who have an infection in both ears. They may also help if the infected ears are leaking fluid.
Middle ear infections can cause earache and fever. These symptoms can be treated with painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Whether are an appropriate treatment will depend on what other symptoms the child has. Antibiotics can only help treat bacterial infections. Children with specific symptoms benefit from them, but antibiotics will hardly help in children without these symptoms.
Research on for acute middle ear infections
Researchers from the , an international network of researchers, looked for studies that could help show the advantages and disadvantages of antibiotic treatment of acute middle ear infections in babies and toddlers. They found 13 reliable studies involving a total of about 3,400 children. The studies randomly divided the children into two groups and then compared them with each other. One group of children took and the other did not.
The researchers wanted to know what effect had on pain and fever after one to seven days of treatment. They were also interested in whether children who took antibiotics had fewer complications like hearing problems, or the spread of the infection to the other ear or the bone behind the ear. The possible side effects were also investigated.
Antibiotics are often ineffective
What You Can Do To Prevent Ear Infections:
- Breast-feed your baby for at least six months. Infants who are exclusively formula-fed for the first six months have a 70 percent greater risk of ear infections. If you must bottle-feed, hold your baby’s head above stomach level to help keep the eustachian tubes from getting blocked.
- Avoid group daycare during your child’s first year, if possible. A recent Journal of Pediatrics study found that around 65 percent of babies in daycare suffered at least six respiratory infections in their first year, compared with only 29 percent of babies who were cared for at home.
- Avoid smoke-filled environments. Children who inhale second-hand smoke are at a higher risk for ear infections.
You May Like: What Size Battery For Phonak Hearing Aid
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.
Who Can And Cannot Take Amoxicillin
Amoxicillin can be taken by adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Amoxicillin can be taken by children.
Amoxicillin isn’t suitable for some people. To make sure amoxicillin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to amoxicillin or penicillin or any other medicines in the past
- have liver or kidney problems
- have recently had, or are about to have, any vaccinations
Also Check: How To Learn Sign Language Words
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.
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Make Candle Ear Wax
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.”
Symptoms Of Ear Infections
- The main symptom is an earache.
- Younger children will cry, act fussy or have trouble sleeping because of pain.
- About 50% of children with an ear infection will have a fever.
- Complication: In 5% to 10% of children, the eardrum will develop a small tear. This is from the pressure in the middle ear. The ear then drains cloudy fluid or pus. This small hole most often heals over in 2 or 3 days.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of An Ear Wax Plug
What Can I Do To Feel Better
At home, follow your doctor’s directions for using ear drops and take all doses of antibiotic medicine as prescribed. Keep taking these for all days of treatment, even if you are starting to feel better. If you stop too soon, the infection could come back.
You can try acetaminophen or ibuprofen for ear pain. If they don’t help, your doctor might prescribe a stronger pain reliever. You’ll use this only for a short time until the ear drops and antibiotics begin to work.
To protect your ear while it heals, your doctor will probably tell you to keep your head out of water for several days or weeks even while showering or shampooing! This can be tough, but your doctor can give you suggestions on how to do this, such as using a cotton ball as an earplug.
What Are Antibiotics Made Of
The first beta-lactam antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered by accident. It was growing from a blob of mold on a petri dish. Scientists found that a certain type of fungus naturally produced penicillin. Eventually, penicillin was produced in large quantities in a laboratory through fermentation using the fungus.
Some other early antibiotics were produced by bacteria found in ground soil.
Today, all antibiotic medications are produced in a lab. Some are made through a series of chemical reactions that produce the substance used in the medication.
Other antibiotics are at least partially made through a natural but controlled process. This process is often enhanced with certain chemical reactions that can alter the original substance to create a different medication.
Don’t Miss: How To Say Toy In Sign Language
How To Take It
Swallow amoxicillin capsules whole with a drink of water. Do not chew or break them.
Amoxicillin is available as a liquid for children and people who find it difficult to swallow tablets.
If you or your child are taking amoxicillin as a liquid, it will usually be made up for you by your pharmacist. The medicine will come with a plastic syringe or spoon to help you measure out the right dose.
If you don’t have one, ask your pharmacist for one. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.
Types Of Ear Infections
The most common type of ear infection is called acute otitis media .
AOM is more common in children because they have smaller eustachian tubes. Located between the middle ear and upper throat, these tubes are responsible for fluid drainage.
If this fluid doesnt drain, a buildup and infection may occur. Fluid trapped in the middle ear behind your eardrum may also cause:
Other common infections
Other common types of ear infections include:
- Otitis media with effusion . The infection has cleared up, but fluid may still be stuck in the middle ear.
- Chronic otitis media with effusion . Fluid continues to build up on a recurring basis despite the lack of infection. This chronic condition can lead to serious side effects, such as hearing loss .
- Swimmers ear : occurs in the outer ear when water becomes trapped and promotes bacterial growth in the ear canal.
You May Like: How To Donate Old Hearing Aids
Treating Middle Ear Infections
Mild cases of infection can be treated quickly with paracetamol . Do not give regular paracetamol medicine for more than 24 hours without seeking advice from your doctor. It will help if you raise the head of your child’s bed.Some middle ear infections lead to the condition known as glue ear, when thick fluid in the middle ear causes slight deafness. This is not permanent, but it may need treatment. This can include antibiotics and surgery to insert pressure-equalising tubes in the ear drums. Children with glue ear usually recover in a few weeks after the fluid has drained away.
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.
You May Like: What Is The Ivy League Formula For Tinnitus
Ear Infections: Why Kids May Not Need 10 Days Of Antibiotics
Imagine for a moment that youve been up all night with your sickkindergartener. For some of us, this is not hard to imagine! He has been holding his right earand crying in pain. Youve been through this before, and you suspect he has another earinfection. After his pediatrician examines him and confirms your suspicion, you head to thepharmacy to pick up the antibiotic that will help his body fight the bacterial ear infection. Butwait – you know that you are sleep-deprived, but when you look at the medication instructions, itsays to take the medicine for only seven days. In the past, hes always had antibiotics for TENdays and isnt it bad not to take a full round of antibiotics?
Dog Ear Infection Remedies That Dont Contain Antibiotics
The following seven Zymox ear solution and cleaning products for dogs are ones we have used, researched, and talked to other dog moms and dads about.
We chose these products for their efficacy, ease of use, Zymoxs reputation, pet parent reviews, long-term usage features, nicely priced, cruelty-free, made in the USA, and the Zymox LP3 patented enzyme system.
The Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution with 0.5% Hydrocortisone helps keep dog ears healthy, remove any waxy junk, and uses 0.5% hydrocortisone to relieve itching, minor skin irritation, and dermatitis. It is helpful for dogs with bacterial, fungal, and yeasty ears caused by Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Proteus and Malassezia.
Used primarily for:
- For pets who swim
- Pets who live in moist or hot environments
It is soothing, non-toxic and requires no pre-cleaning of the dogs ear. You apply it once a day into the ear, and like all the products on this list, it contains no antibiotics.
The patented LP3 enzyme solution means no pre-cleaning or digging around in a dogs delicate ear or ear canal to use the solution.
How to Use: Apply liberally to the uncleaned ear, filling the ear canal. Gently massage and work into the infected area, wiping the excess. Use once a day for seven days, but up to 14 days for chronic infections.
- To remove ear exudate
- Pets who live in moist or hot environments
Read Also: How To Connect Phonak Hearing Aids To Iphone
At A Glance: 7 Best Dog Ear Infection Remedies Without Antibiotics
Note: The links above will take you to the Zymox website. I am being compensated by ZYMOX to share our real-life experiences with their products. Fidose of Reality only shares information we believe is of interest to our readers. ZYMOX is not responsible for the contents of this article.
Otitis Media In Adults
Otitis media is another name for a middle ear infection. It means an infection behind your eardrum. This kind of ear infection can happen after any condition that keeps fluid from draining from the middle ear. These conditions include allergies, a cold, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.
Middle ear infections are common in children, but they can also happen in adults. An ear infection in an adult may mean a more serious problem than in a child. So you may need additional tests. If you have an ear infection, you should see your healthcare provider for treatment. If they happen repeatedly, you should see an otolaryngologist or an otologist .
What are the types of middle ear infections?
Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways. They are:
Who is more likely to get a middle ear infection?
You are more likely to get an ear infection if you:
- Smoke or are around someone who smokes
- Have seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms
- Have a cold or other upper respiratory infection
What causes a middle ear infection?
The middle ear connects to the throat by a canal called the eustachian tube. This tube helps even out the pressure between the outer ear and the inner ear. A cold or allergy can irritate the tube or cause the area around it to swell. This can keep fluid from draining from the middle ear. The fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Bacteria and viruses can grow in this fluid. The bacteria and viruses cause the middle ear infection.
How Does Amoxicillin Work
After starting therapy, amoxicillin will begin to work faster than many other antibiotics since it is “bactericidal“, which means it kills bacteria. This is in contrast to “bacteriostatic” antibiotics, which slow the growth and reproduction of bacteria but don’t kill them directly.
Specifically, amoxicillin works by inhibiting bacterial cell wall synthesis by binding to what is known as penicillin-binding proteins . These are located inside the bacterial cell wall.
Amoxicillin’s ability to interfere with PBPs in the cell wall ultimately leads to cell lysis .
Can I Stop Taking Antibiotics Early
It’s important to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if you begin to feel better beforehand.;
Because if you discontinue the treatment early you may not eliminate enough bacteria, and the condition could re-occur, as surviving bacteria multiply. Doing so also contributes to the growing issue of antibiotic resistance.;
However, in the continued battle against antibiotic-resistant superbugs, researchers have started to study the dosage amount. A growing body of evidence suggests that shorter regimes of antibiotic treatment may be just as effective as the longer courses traditionally prescribed.;
However, more research is needed so you should still complete the full course of antibiotics you’re prescribed for an infection.
Don’t Miss: When You Hear A Ringing In Your Ear