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 Are Other Causes Of Ear Pain
Other causes of ear pain include:
- A sore throat.
- Teeth coming in in a baby.
- An infection of the lining of the ear canal. This is also called swimmers ear.
- Pressure build up in the middle ear caused by allergies and colds.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/16/2020.
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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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 drugs may also be used to manage your symptoms.
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 very gently exhaling. This can send air through the eustachian tubes to help drain them.
What Are The Types Of Middle
Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways. They are:
Acute otitis media. This middle-ear infection occurs suddenly. It causes swelling and redness. Fluid and mucus become trapped inside the ear. You can have a fever and ear pain.
Otitis media with effusion. Fluid and mucus build up in the middle ear after the infection goes away. You may feel like your middle ear is full. This can continue for months and may affect your hearing.
Chronic otitis media with effusion. Fluid remains in the middle ear for a long time. Or it builds up again and again, even though there is no infection. This type of middle-ear infection may be hard to treat. It may also affect your hearing.
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Symptoms Of An Ear Infection
When your child has an ear infection, it will typically start with a cold. They will most likely have a cough, congestion and a runny nose. A common indication of an ear infection is when your child gets a fever after the cold symptoms appear. If the fever lasts for more than 48 hours, then its time to get your childs ears looked at, said Shannon Carruthers, M.D., a pediatrician at Sanford Childrens in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
With an ear infection, pain in the ear can be intense. Older children will be able to verbalize this, but obviously babies cannot. Excessive crying might mean that your baby is experiencing pain and it is time to bring them in.
Some other common symptoms your child may display are fussiness and crying, poor feeding and trouble sleeping. The pain is usually worse at night, and lying down can make it worse.
In the meantime, before your doctor visit, you can administer Motrin/Tylenol to relieve the pain, Dr. Carruthers said.
Take Care In Hospitals
Hospital-acquired infections, known as nosocomial infections, are a significant cause of illness and death in the United States and around the world. Because they house people with numerous diseases and infections, hospitals can become breeding grounds for infections, including hard-to-treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus .
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Understanding The Difference: Cold Ears Vs Ear Infections
When you feel ear pain in cold weather, the sensory nerve issues will usually subside when you warm up again. Simply step back inside a heated building, and the pain will start to diminish.
On the other hand, ear infections cause ongoing pain and other symptoms as well.
When the middle ear is clogged, the moisture in this portion of the ear develops a breeding ground for bacterial growth. As the infection worsens, it puts more pressure and pain in the ear.
Symptoms of an ear infection include:
- Pain deep within the ear
- Pain is getting worse with time
- A sensation of fullness in the ear
- Fluid leaking out of the ear
- Difficulty hearing
Natural Home Remedies For Ear Infection
Armed with facts and my instincts, I have pursued natural and holistic healthcare and remedies for my family for over a decade now.
Weve treated strep throat, tummy bugs, upper respiratory illness, urinary tract infections, and ear infections with natural home remedies such as herbs, essential oils, homeopathy, and using food as medicine.
One day, the facts and my instincts may very well tell me that its time to trust a medical doctor with the care of someone in my family or myself in which case, Ill listen to both!
Ear infections are one of the easiest maladies to treat naturally and at home, however.
If you suspect an ear infection and still feel a trip to the doctor is necessary, by all means, go! But before you fill that prescription for antibiotics for yourself or your child, give some proven, natural home remedies for ear infection a try.
Here are five natural, no-antibiotic treatments for ear infections that work:
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Why Do Children Get Many More Ear Infections Than Adults Will My Child Always Get Ear Infections
Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections for these reasons:
- The eustachian tubes in young children are shorter and more horizontal. This shape encourages fluid to gather behind the eardrum.
- The immune system of children, which in the bodys infection-fighting system, is still developing.
- The adenoids in children are relatively larger than they are in adults. The adenoids are the small pads of tissue above the throat and behind the nose and near the eustachian tubes. As they swell to fight infection, they may block the normal ear drainage from the eustachian tube into the throat. This blockage of fluid can lead to a middle ear infection.
Most children stop getting ear infections by age 8.
My Toddler Keeps Getting Ear Infections Theres Got To Be A Way To Help With This What Can We Do To Prevent Them
Its frustrating, I know. Ear infectionsdoctors call them otitis media, because we need fancy-pants names for ordinary thingsare very common, and account more antibiotic prescriptions than any other pediatric infection. Why do kids get so many of them?
If you stick your finger in your ear, it wont go very far. Which is probably a good thing. If your finger were oddly thin and pointy, though, youd be able to reach down your own ear canal to touch your eardrum , a little flimsy sheet of tissue that closes off the end of the outer ear parts and separates the ear canal from the middle ear. Ordinarily, on the other side of the eardrum is a small, open, air-filled space through which sound waves can be transmitted with the help of three interlocking little bones. The important thing to remember is that this middle ear cavity is sealed off on all sides, and is supposed to be filled with ordinary air. There is a little drainage tube on the bottom which can allow tiny droplets of normal mucus to drain out of the middle ear into the nose. All of this works pretty well, most of the time.
Until the drainage tube gets clogged up. Then the middle ear space fills with nice warm mucus. That sits there. And you can guess what happens: bacteria love warm, stagnant mucus. Party time = infection in the middle ear = Mommy, my ear hurts!
So what can be done to prevent ear infections? The only really practical strategies are to try to prevent the spread of cold viruses:
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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 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.
What Is An Ear Infection
The commonly used term ear infection is known medically as acute otitis media or a sudden infection in the middle ear. Anyone can get an ear infection children as well as adults although ear infections are one of the most common reasons why young children visit healthcare providers.
In many cases, ear infections clear up on their own. Your healthcare provider may recommend a medication to relieve pain. If the ear infection has worsened or not improved, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic. In children younger than the age of two years, an antibiotic is usually needed for ear infections.
Its important to see your healthcare provider to make sure the ear infection has healed or if you or your child has ongoing pain or discomfort. Hearing problems and other serious effects can occur with ongoing ear infections, frequent infections and when fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
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How To Wash Your Hands Properly
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands thoroughly and vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 secondsabout as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday”followed by hand drying with a clean towel or air drying.
In the absence of water and soap, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wipe will suffice.
It is also important to avoid picking your nose or biting your nails, especially if your hands are unwashed. Teach your kids to do the same.
Do You Need To See A Doctor For An Ear Infection
Minor ear infections can clear up with home remedies. But if you notice that the pain is getting worse and the earache is sticking around for a few days, then it might be time to talk to a doctor.
You can schedule an ENT appointment with our team if you live in or near the Collin County or Dallas area. Contact Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat to talk to an ENT specialist at one of our offices in Frisco or Plano, TX. We have an online form for appointment requests, or you can call: .
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You’re Not Alone If You Feel As If You’re Getting Sick After Flying: Around 20 Percent Of People On Commercial Flights Develop Symptoms Of The Common Cold Within One Week Of Travel
Researchers are finally starting to gather and publish more data about the health risks associated with airplane travel.
With literally billions of people traveling by air every year now, researchers are finally starting to gather and publish more data about the health risks associated with airplane travel. In terms of the common cold, it is now well-accepted that acute respiratory infections are frequently experienced after air travel. So its no surprise when we find ourselves getting sick after flying.
Studies have found a high prevalence and wide array of respiratory viruses in people who have recently traveled. Up to 20 percent of passengers may develop respiratory infections within one week after air travel and that flight attendants have significantly more respiratory infections than those who do not frequently fly.
When To See The Doctor
Ear infections often clear up on their own, without antibiotics, but if youre in a lot of pain or its been a few days, call your doctor. Chronic ear infections can be a problem for some people with a perforated eardrum or a long history of ear disease since childhood. Talk to your doctor about your options in this case.
If fluid continues to build up in the middle ear space, we now consider Eustachian tube dilation, Oghalai says. A balloon is used to dilate the Eustachian tube, to improve aeration and fluid drainage. If this is done, an ear tube is not needed, lowering the risk for long-term side effects that can be associated with this treatment.
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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.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- How can I keep my child comfortable at night with the pain of an ear infection?
- Is there drainage with an ear infection?
- What is the difference between an ear infection and swimmers ear?
- Is my child a candidate for ear tubes?
- What are the risks and benefits of surgically inserting tubes inside my childs middle ear?
- Should my child get regular hearing tests if they have frequent ear infections?
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Ways To Reduce Risk Factors For Ear Infection In Kids
If your childs ear is hurting, it could be an ear infection, which is an inflammation of the middle ear. Five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. Ear infections are the most common reason parents take their children to see their doctor.
Although usually not dangerous, ear infections can be very painful and disruptive to a young childs life, says Dania Lindenberg, MD, a pediatrician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Hillcrest. Fortunately, there are treatments and measures that can be taken at home to prevent ear infections in children.
Why are ear infections more common in children?
Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections because their immune systems are still developing, which makes it harder for them to fight off infections.
Young children are the most vulnerable also because they have shorter, softer and more level Eustachian tubes than adults, which makes it more difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear, Dr. Lindenberg says.
The Eustachian tube connects the upper part of the throat to the middle ear. If the Eustachian tube is swollen or blocked with mucus due to a respiratory illness like a cold, fluid may not be able to drain. The most common ear infection is called acute otitis media, where parts of the middle ear are infected and swollen and fluid is trapped behind the eardrum.
Ear infection symptoms
Common ear infection symptoms in children include:
Can ear infections be prevented?
How To Avoid Common And Painful Ear Infections
Ear infections are one of the most common medical conditions among young children. But that doesnt mean they should be ignored. Whether your child is experiencing their first ear infection or has been suffering from chronic ear infections for years, its vital to understand their causes and symptoms. Why? Untreated ear infections not only can lead to greater and prolonged pain, but also potential hearing loss.
Armed with accurate medical information, parents can take steps to prevent their infants and children from developing ear infections and treat them when they do. Heres what you need to know about kids and this common condition.
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