What Type Of Ear Infection Is It
There are two common types of ear infections:
- Otitis media: This ear infection affects the middle ear . Middle ear infections are common in kids and tend to cause trouble hearing, fevers, and pain without much outward signs such as ear drainage or swelling.
- Otitis externa: This infection affects the ear canal, and is commonly known as swimmers ear because water exposure is a risk factor for it. Swimmers ear is painful, too, and tends to have more visible signs such as a swollen ear canal or pus drainage.
There are several home remedies for earaches, says Dr. Nguyen-Huynh. Try these for the first two or three days if symptoms are mild.
Complications Of Outer Ear Infection
Most outer ear infections clear up quickly with the right treatment. But sometimes an outer ear infection is harder to get rid of, and may continue to cause symptoms for three months or longer. This is called a long-term infection. In time, this can cause your ear canal to become narrowed or blocked, and lead to hearing loss.
Its possible for the infection to spread deeper into your skin or form a large collection of pus . You may need antibiotic tablets to treat this.
Rarely, an outer ear infection can start to affect the skin and cartilage around your ear, and nearby bones. This is called necrotising or malignant otitis externa. It happens when your outer ear infection spreads from your ear to nearby tissues. This can lead to serious infections of your skin, bones, and the membrane surrounding your brain . Most people who develop malignant otitis externa have an underlying problem with their immune system. For instance, they may have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, diabetes, chemotherapy or taking medicines that suppress the immune system.
If you have these symptoms, its important to seek medical help straight away. Malignant otitis can be life-threatening if it isnt treated.
Youll usually be given antibiotics either as tablets or as an intravenous drip to treat malignant otitis externa. If you have a very serious infection, you may need surgery to remove any damaged tissue and bone and to drain any discharge.
When To Call A Doctor
- Your child has sudden hearing loss, severe pain, or dizziness.
- Your child seems to be very sick with symptoms such as a high fever and stiff neck.
- You notice redness, swelling, or pain behind or around your child’s ear, especially if your child doesn’t move the muscles on that side of the face.
- You’ve used home treatment for several hours and can’t quiet your child who has a severe earache.
- Your baby pulls or rubs their ear and appears to be in pain .
- Your child’s ear pain gets worse even with treatment.
- Your child has a fever with other signs of ear infection.
- You suspect that your child’s eardrum has burst, or fluid that looks like pus or blood is draining from the ear.
- Your child has an object stuck in their ear.
- Your child with an ear infection continues to have symptoms after 48 hours of treatment with an antibiotic.
- Your child with an ear tube develops an earache or has drainage from the ear.
Try Out Apple Cider Vinegar
Another ingredient that has been used in herbal remedies for centuries is apple cider vinegar. This is an excellent option when the reason for the infection is fungus growing in or around your ear. The vinegar is acidic and will kill off the bad that is collected within the ear. It is also full of other nutrients that will support the immune system and reduce inflammation in your ear.
The great news is you dont just necessarily need apple cider vinegar. You can use white or distilled vinegar. However, you will want to get apple cider vinegar as much as possible.
Depending on where the infection is, you wont necessarily want to put the vinegar directly into the ear. This can cause some discomfort. If you are going to place it directly into the ear, make sure you dilute the vinegar with some water.
The best thing to do would be to put the diluted vinegar onto some cotton wool and create an ear plug with it. Place this in your ear and allow the liquid to get to work. You only need the ear plug for five minutes. You can then use a hair dryer to dry out the ear, but do make sure your setting is as low as possible to avoid damage to the ear drum.
Another option is to massage the diluted vinegar around the ear, allowing the skin to soak it in. If you have sensitive skin, you can find this becomes an irritant.
What Causes A Middle
The middle ear connects to the throat by a canal called the eustachiantube. This tube helps even out the pressure between the outer ear and theinner ear. A cold or allergy can irritate the tube or cause the area aroundit to swell. This can keep fluid from draining from the middle ear. Thefluid builds up behind the eardrum. Bacteria and viruses can grow in thisfluid. The bacteria and viruses cause the middle-ear infection.
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.
How To Deal With Ear
In case of severe infections, think pus and abscesses and the spread of the infection to the neck; for example, youll have to take a more cautious and urgent approach to deal with the problem.
Its important to know that most of these ear infections result from the breeding of a specific kind of bacteria known as the Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These infections can only be controlled and treated using the most effective antibiotics like levofloxacin or ciprofloxacin the other antibiotics you may be thinking about like Keflex, Augmentin, or Amoxicillin will not work because they dont fight infections caused by the pseudomonas bacteria.
With severe ear infections that appear to have spread to the neck, the smartest thing you could do is to go to the ER. There, the abscess will be drained, and the pus draining from the ear piercing washed out. This is often considered a medical emergency, and you may be admitted to the hospital because youd need the relevant antibiotics that are to be administered intravenously. In extreme scenarios, surgery might be recommended. Note that whatever is recommended by the ER doctors is meant to save your life and ear waiting too long with severe ear piercing infections might result in permanent hearing and cartilage loss, and what you dont want the worst possible cosmetic outcome.
Is A Dog Ear Infection An Emergency
If your dog’s head is tilted or it seems to be hearing less than usual, it is possible that the infection may have migrated into the middle or inner ear and the tympanic membrane may have ruptured. This is therefore a more urgent condition.
A swollen, red, warm ear is also more worrying, as it could be an ear hematoma.
Such symptoms should be discussed with a vet.
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.
How Is An Ear Infection Diagnosed
Doctors diagnose ear infections by looking at the ear drum with a special light called an otoscope. They look for fluid in the middle ear, at the colour and position of the ear drum, and monitor the pressure in the middle ear. Common viral infections can make the ear drum look red, but antibiotics are not needed.
Recurrent Or Chronic Ear Infections
For recurrent middle ear infections and lingering middle ear fluid that causes temporary hearing loss, an otolaryngologist may recommend a minor surgical procedure known as ear tube surgery, to insert a tubes into the eardrums.
This is usually an outpatient procedure. A doctor will typically make a small incision in the eardrum and place a small tube. The tube, also called a pressure equalization tube, aerates the middle ear space through the ear canal to allow any trapped fluids to dissipate. This procedure has become less common in recent years, reserved for children who are having trouble hearing as a result of recurring middle ear infections.
Why Are Children More Likely Than Adults To Get Ear Infections
There are several reasons why children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
Eustachian tubes are smaller and more level in children than they are in adults. This makes it difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear, even under normal conditions. If the eustachian tubes are swollen or blocked with mucus due to a cold or other respiratory illness, fluid may not be able to drain.
A childs immune system isnt as effective as an adults because its still developing. This makes it harder for children to fight infections.
As part of the immune system, the adenoids respond to bacteria passing through the nose and mouth. Sometimes bacteria get trapped in the adenoids, causing a chronic infection that can then pass on to the eustachian tubes and the middle ear.
How To Treat An Infected Ear Piercing
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When you get your ears pierced whether at a tattoo parlor or a kiosk in the mall you should receive instructions on how to prevent an infection. The vendor should also assure you that they only use sterile tools and hygienic practices.
But if protocol isnt followed, or if you dont carefully follow the post-piercing care instructions, infection can occur. You can usually treat a minor piercing infection of the earlobe fairly easily and without complications.
How To Treat Ear Infections
Those are a few of the causes and things that can increase the susceptibility to chronic and recurring ear infections. Now were going to start talking about treatment, and of course, were going to be thinking about it in terms of all of these causes. So the goals are we want to eliminate any food triggers that could be contributing to these recurring infections since the food allergies are a factor in many, if not most, cases of recurring ear infections. We want to fix the gut, you know, improve levels of beneficial bacteria, and we want to strengthen the immune system and then also even consider what some botanical or herbal alternatives to antibiotics might be that can be used either internally or topically.
Steve Wright: And you would do this with a newborn that has been having multiple infections and may or may not already have tubes in their ears.
The second thing is a nasal spray called Xlear, and this is a xylitol-based nasal spray. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that breaks down biofilm, and in a lot of cases of any kind of chronic viral infections or chronic infections in general, what happens is biofilm forms and it makes it really hard for the immune system to get rid of whatevers in that biofilm. Xylitol actually breaks up the biofilm and makes it easier for our immune system to deal with those pathogens. You can use the Xlear nasal spray. If you go to the website, there are some directions on how to do that.
Steve Wright: True.
How A Yeast Infection Gets Diagnosed
Vets diagnose yeast infections in dogs through a combination of physical exam findings and simple lab tests. Your vet will take a sample from the surface of your dog’s skin or swab the ear, stain it and look at it under the microscope. Yeasts are easily identifiable under the microscope.
If your vet suspects an underlying condition that’s contributing to your dog’s yeast woes, then they’ll likely recommend additional testing to determine the root cause.
Weve Had Earaches Too And We Know They Are No Fun Getting Relief At Home Is Not A Cure For An Ear Infection But These Tips Sure Will Help
With cold and flu season, as well as the customary cooler temperatures, comes the increased risk of ear infection for children and adults. Reducing the risk of flu or cold helps curb the chance of getting an ear infection. Flu vaccine and hand washing can go a long way toward prevention, but be sure to seek medical attention if you experience an ear infection.
No matter how many preventive measures youve taken, you have probably had an ear infection at some point in your life. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, about 62 percent of children in developed countries will have their first one by the age of 1, more than 80 percent by their third birthday, and nearly 100 percent will have at least one episode by age 5. Including lost wages for parents, the total cost of estimated treatments is $6 billion.
When To Call The Doctor For An Ear Infection
Some symptoms of an inner ear infection can be the same as a stroke. If you have vomiting, headache, vision changes, fever, weakness in one side of your body, slurred speech or are unable to walk, seek medical care right away.
Infections involving high fever, discharge or bleeding from the ear canal, headache, vomiting, dizziness, loss of hearing, or severe pain should be seen by a doctor. A doctor should see most people with an inner ear infection.
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.
When To See Your Doctor
If you or your child is having symptoms of an acute ear infection, like ear pain, fever, and trouble hearing, you should see your doctor. Getting an acute ear infection treated promptly can help prevent a chronic ear infection. You should also see your doctor if:
- you have been diagnosed with an acute ear infection but its not responding to treatment recommended by your doctor
- you have been diagnosed with an acute ear infection and experience new symptoms, or if the symptoms get worse
- if your child shows symptoms of a recurring ear infection
Chronic ear infections require medical treatment. However, home treatments can help relieve your symptoms. Home treatments include:
- holding a warm or cool washcloth to the painful area
- using numbing ear drops
- taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen
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 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.
Relieving Ear Infection Pain
At-home ear infection remedies can help to ease an earache, but a hearing professional should always be consulted when you suspect you or your child has an ear infection.
- Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic that fights bacteria.
- Even if youre on antibiotics, consider taking pain medication.
- Anesthetic eardrops can also help.
- Keep your head elevated to relieve the pressure.
- Apply a warm, wet cloth to your face near the ear.
- Know what youre dealing with; ear pain doesnt necessarily point to an infection.
Frequently Asked Questions About Outer Ear Infections
Youll need to lie down while you put ear drops in, and it can help to have someone else put them in for you.
How Is A Wound Infection Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history and examine you. He will ask how and when you were wounded. You may have any of the following tests:
- Blood tests may be done to check for infection.
- X-ray or CT may be done to look for infection in deep tissues or a foreign object in your wound. You may be given contrast liquid to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
- A wound culture is a sample of fluid or tissue that taken from the wound. It is sent to a lab and tested for the germ that is causing the infection.
The Types Of Ear Infections Are As Follows:
- Internal ear infection : This usually occurs when the inner ear is inflamed due to a virus, but may also be caused by middle ear bacteria spreading to the inner ear. Symptoms include sudden onset of severe vertigo, nausea, and vomiting, and are sometimes so severe that emergency room care and medication are required to control the vertigo.
- Middle ear infection : Middle ear infections are very common in childhood but can occur at any age, and are usually accompanied by an upper respiratory tract infection with coughing and nasal discharge. These infections are most commonly caused by a blockage of the Eustachian tube, which creates swelling in the mucous membranes. Antibiotic treatment is the best course of action in these cases.
- Outer ear infection : When the outer ear and ear canal are inflamed, this earache is commonly referred to as swimmers ear. The skin in the ear canal becomes inflamed, swells, and is tender to the touch. Outer ear infections can be caused by polluted water entering the ear canal, particularly when the skin has slight tears that allow for bacteria and fungus to grow. This is the only type of ear infection that is visible with the naked eye.
How To Deal With Ear Piercing Infection Spread To Neck
After months of contemplation, you finally gave in and have settled on two more new ear piercings. You feel good about this decision, and you cannot wait to rock all the different types of earrings you already bought. However, one morning you wake up with pain in one ear, and from the reddening and warmth radiating from one of the piercings, you suspect an infection. Expecting it to subside, you clean it as directed, but then it turns out that the infection has spread down to your neck. What do you do then?
First things first a warning regarding ear infections!
If you have an infection of a cartilage ear piercing, there is a high risk of this infection spreading quite rapidly, not just to the rest of the ear but also down the neck. In worst cases, these infections can cause permanent disfigurement of your ear. This often happens because most of the infections that start from the cartilage tend to spread quite fast, and in most cases, you dont realize just how bad the infection is until youre in extreme pain and discomfort, and maybe in the ER.
As sad and depressing as this can be, something you should know about the infection of ear piercings is that even with the best, most meticulous level of care, cartilage piercings often get infected at a rate of about 30%, in comparison to a potential infection rate of 20% for other kinds of ear infections.
Consider Tea Tree Oil
A second good natural remedy for ear infections, both in adults and children, is tea tree oil. This woody scented essential oil is used for a variety of reasons because of its antiseptic benefits. In fact, its been one of those herbal remedies for infections and wounds throughout the centuries around the world. Its still used in Eastern medicine, even today.
Dont put the essential oil directly into the ear. There are some people allergic to this, and it can cause damage to the ear. You want to apply it around the ear instead.
Dilute the essential oil instead of applying directly to the skin. Use coconut oil for the best results, as coconut oil also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Whatever the reason for the infection, you will cure it with this method.
The benefit of tea tree oil is that you can use it with a perforated ear drum since youre not applying it into the ear. Massage it into the skin for the best results.
Why Ear Infections Are A Big Deal
In an ideal world, wed have, like, a rapid culture where the doctor could just take an immediate culture to figure out right there in the office if its viral or bacterial, and even if its bacteria, what kind of bacteria it is so that they can prescribe a narrow-spectrum antibiotic that just deals with that particular form of bacteria instead of a broad-spectrum antibiotic thats going to wipe everything out because typically the antibiotics they prescribe for these things are broad spectrum because they dont know what bacteria is causing it. Thats ideal but were not there yet, and the development of that kind of culture method has been slow. I think its possible, but its really expensive and its going to be a while before we get to that point.
The recommendation that I think makes the most sense to me is to monitor closely, to try some of the things were going to talk about that are alternative treatments for ear infections that get more at the viral cause and just monitor closely. If you see your child getting worse and not responding to any of these treatments, then you go back to the doctor and then you could consider an antibiotic to prevent complications. That would lead to far, far fewer antibiotic prescriptions because, as I said, most of these resolve within four to seven days without antibiotics and they dont get progressively worse.
Steve Wright: Thats average?!
Steve Wright: Oh, yeah.
Steve Wright: Wow.