Complications Associated With A Middle Ear Infection
Complications from middle ear infections are extremely uncommon, but can occur, especially in very young children with a not yet fully developed immune system. These complications include:
- Mastoiditis: When the infection spreads into the bones of the ear. Symptoms include fever, pain, tenderness, headache and a creamy discharge from the ear. This condition is treatable, but seeking medical attention early is important.
- Cholesteatoma: A result of tissue build-up from recurrent instances of infection. If left untreated, the condition can cause serious damage. Treatment typically involves surgery.
- Labyrinthitis: A condition that occurs when an infection in the middle ear spreads to the inner ear. Symptoms include dizziness, hearing loss, vertigo and loss of balance. It is treatable.
- Other complications: Other possible complications include facial paralysis, meningitis and brain abscess, but these conditions are extremely rare.
Preventing Ear Pain Before It Starts
If chronic ear infection is a problem, it should be noted that those living with smokers may need to deal with more ear issues, and breast fed infants have less than their formula fed ones. In addition, food allergies could contribute to a chronic ear infection many times. If you are dealing with chronic ear infection or other chronic health issues, you need to adjust your diet. Common allergens are tree nuts, peanuts, soy, eggs, gluten, and dairy. You can work with your doctor to see if you can identify any food that causes problem to you. Keep your ears always clean and dry so that you will be able to prevent ear related issues.
When Should You Visit A Doctor
You need to visit a doctor immediately on how to stop an earache if:
- Your symptoms last for over 5 days .
- You have a stiff neck.
- You have fever.
- Immediate medical attention should be sought if your child is less than 8 weeks old.
If earaches are not treated, they can develop into serious infections and other complications. For a bacterial infection, a course of antibiotics will be prescribed for stopping the infection and analgesics for the pain. If not treated, ear infections can cause permanent hearing loss. Seek treatment for persistent conditions or if symptoms worsen.
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Is It Possible For An Ear Infection To Cause Shooting Pains
Ear infections develop when the Eustachian tubes of a person become difficult or impossible to pass through, causing fluid to become trapped in portion of the ear. These can range in severity from mild to severe, but both can produce searing pain in the ear canals. The most common cause of an ear infection is the presence of debris in the ear that creates a place for bacteria to grow. This can be anything from dust to wood shavings to peanut butter to cotton swabs. The ears are very sensitive to any kind of pressure or rubbing against things, so even something as small as trying not to wiggle your head while you’re sleeping can cause problems.
The pain associated with an ear infection comes from the irritation caused by the buildup of fluid or debris in the ear. This may be enough discomfort on its own, but many people also experience pain with shaking their head or twisting the neck in different directions. This is due to the fact that the facial nerves that lead into the ear run very close to the eardrum and can be injured by a developing infection.
Treatment for an ear infection includes cleaning out the ear with warm water and saline solutions, applying antibiotics to the ear canal, and taking painkillers if needed. Hearing tests should be conducted to make sure there’s no long-term damage to the hearing from the infection.
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?
How To Soothe An Ear Infection
WHAT IS AN EAR INFECTION
Ear infections often start with a cold or other illness. This can lead to redness, swelling and fluid in your child’s middle ear. Ear infections can be very painful for your child and sometimes cause fevers with temperatures up to 104°F.While your pediatrician may prescribe, antibiotics, they won’t relieve ear pain for the first 24 hours, so you may have to provideadditional relief.
SIGNS TO LOOK FOR
If your child has a painful ear infection, he or she may have a hard time eating or sleeping. Babies may rub their ears, havetrouble sleeping or cry more than usual. If you think your child has ear pain, or you see fluid coming out of the ear, call yourdoctor for an appointment
Try to lay the bottle flat. Propping up the bottle increases the risk of ear infections.
Keep your child away from cigarette smoke.
Protect your child from cold and flu viruses. Teach them to wash their hands often.
Stay up to date on your child’s shots and immunizations. Infant pneumonia and meningitis vaccines may lower the risk of ear infections.An annual flu vaccine may also help.
One of the main medicines for relieving ear pain is acetaminophen such as Children’s TYLENOL® or Infants’ TYLENOL® not antibiotics. Aswith any medicine, ask your doctor which pain reliever is right for your child.
HOW SOON CAN YOU USE CHILDREN’S TYLENOL® OR INFANTS’ TYLENOL®
WHEN WILL YOUR CHILD FEEL BETTER?
When To See Your Doctor
Trapped water usually goes away without treatment. If it bothers you, consider trying one of these home treatments to help relieve your discomfort. But if the water is still trapped after 2 to 3 days or if you show signs of infection, you should call your doctor.
If your ear becomes inflamed or swollen, you may have developed an ear infection. An ear infection can become serious if you dont get treatment for it. It may lead to hearing loss or other complications, such as cartilage and bone damage.
Your doctor can prescribe medications to eliminate infection and relieve pain.
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What Research Is Being Done On Middle Ear Infections
Researchers sponsored by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders are exploring many areas to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of middle ear infections. For example, finding better ways to predict which children are at higher risk of developing an ear infection could lead to successful prevention tactics.
Another area that needs exploration is why some children have more ear infections than others. For example, Native American and Hispanic children have more infections than do children in other ethnic groups. What kinds of preventive measures could be taken to lower the risks?
Doctors also are beginning to learn more about what happens in the ears of children who have recurring ear infections. They have identified colonies of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, called biofilms, that are present in the middle ears of most children with chronic ear infections. Understanding how to attack and kill these biofilms would be one way to successfully treat chronic ear infections and avoid surgery.
Understanding the impact that ear infections have on a childs speech and language development is another important area of study. Creating more accurate methods to diagnose middle ear infections would help doctors prescribe more targeted treatments. Researchers also are evaluating drugs currently being used to treat ear infections, and developing new, more effective and easier ways to administer medicines.
What Causes Both Ears To Hurt
A cold, allergies, or a sinus infection can all cause the tubes in your middle ear to get clogged. If your doctor suspects bacteria as the culprit, she may prescribe antibiotics. Bacterial infections can also lead to hearing loss if they go untreated.
When you hear about these problems with your ears, first check to make sure that you aren’t actually seeing things. Ears can be deceiving because they can look healthy even when there is some sort of problem. If you’re unsure whether or not something is wrong, ask for help from someone who knows more about health issues than you do. Your doctor should be able to help you out.
In conclusion, both ears hurting at once could indicate a problem with your ears. Make sure to see your doctor if this happens so he can determine the cause of your pain.
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Home Remedies For Ear Infection
Ear infections can be extremely painful. They are caused by bacteria, fungi, or a virus. Symptoms include localized pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, fever, hearing problems, tugging on the ear to relieve pressure, and even vomiting and diarrhea.In addition to medical treatments, some home remedies may help alleviate ear infection symptoms. Keep in mind that home remedies are often passed down through generations and arent necessarily supported by science.It is possible that ear pain is caused by a tear in the eardrum. In these cases, putting anything into the ear can cause serious problems. Furthermore, these remedies are also not appropriate for people who have tubes in their ears.It is always best to see a doctor if an ear infection is suspected. The doctor may recommend some home remedies, or choose to treat the infection with pharmaceuticals.
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Is It Safe To Use
While olive oil is generally safe, there are a few precautions you should take when using it in your ears.
Dont use olive oil or any other product in the ear if you have a ruptured ear drum. If youre not sure if you have a ruptured ear drum, see your doctor before using any remedy in your ear, including natural remedies.
Dont place cotton swabs or any other object inside the ear to remove wax or relieve itching. This can easily damage your ear drum or push wax deeper into your ear. Putting cotton swabs in your ear also increases your risk of developing an ear infection. Its also responsible for sending thousands of children to the emergency room with ear injuries each year.
Finally, make sure to use only room-temperature or just slightly warmed olive oil to avoid burning the delicate skin in your ear.
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Why Do Children Get Ear Infections
If you could peak inside your childs head, you would see thin tubes that connect their ears to the back of their throat. These are the Eustachian tubes, the ears air pressure regulators and drainage system. In adults, theyre long and slanted for efficient drainage. In children, the tubes are short and horizontal. The ear cant drain as effectively, and its easy for bacteria from the throat and nasal tract to travel into the ear.
Once bacteria is in the ears, the inside of the ears gets inflamed. The opening to your childs tiny Eustachian tubes get swollen shut. A vacuum is formed by the natural pressure in your childs ears. Normally, the pressure is relieved when we chew and swallow, which encourages the Eustachian tubes to open. When theyre swollen shut, the pressure builds. Fluid is pulled out of the surrounding tissues.
The fluid becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, and the next thing you know, your child is experiencing the classic symptoms.
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How Are Earaches And Ear Pain Treated
Swimmer’s ear treatment
- Most cases are treated with prescription eardrops for 7-10 days.
- These drops contain an antibiotic to fight the infection, and often a steroid to reduce inflammation swelling.
- The drops are placed in the affected ear with the individual laying on their side. After the drops are placed, the patient should remain in this position for about 5 minutes to prevent the drops from running out of the ear.
- If the ear canal is very swollen, a wick or small piece of gauze material may be placed into the canal to allow the ear drops to reach the appropriate location.
- Occasionally, the health-care professional may prescribe an oral antibiotic as well as the eardrops. Pain medication either OTC or prescription is often needed for a few days until the infection is under control.
- The ear canal should be kept dry during treatment. An earplug or small cotton ball coated with Vaseline can be used during bathing to keep water out.
- In some cases the drainage in the ear builds up, and the infection won’t clear until it is removed. Referral to an otolaryngologist may be required.
Middle ear infection treatment
Bullous myringitis treatment
- Treatment for infections of the eardrum may include oral antibiotics, antibiotic ear drops, and pain medications.
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How Can I Treat Earache At Home
Placing a warm flannel against the affected ear may also help relieve the pain.
Your pharmacist may also be able to recommend over-the-counter eardrops for your earache, but let them know your symptoms and ask for their advice first.
Eardrops or olive oil drops should not be used if the eardrum has burst, and they will not help an ear infection.
If you or your child has an ear infection, you should avoid putting objects in the ear, such as cotton buds, or getting the affected ear wet.
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Check If It’s An Ear Infection
The symptoms of an ear infection usually start quickly and include:
- discharge running out of the ear
- a feeling of pressure or fullness inside the ear
- itching and irritation in and around the ear
- scaly skin in and around the ear
Young children and babies with an ear infection may also:
- rub or pull their ear
- not react to some sounds
- be irritable or restless
- be off their food
- keep losing their balance
Most ear infections clear up within 3 days, although sometimes symptoms can last up to a week.
|Inner ear infection||Middle ear infection||Outer ear infection|
|Can affect both children and adults||Usually affects children||Usually affects adults aged 45 to 75|
|Caused by viral or bacterial infections||Caused by viruses like colds and flu||Caused by something irritating the ear canal, such as eczema, water or wearing earplugs|
|Affects parts of the inner ear like the labyrinth and vestibular system, and can lead to labyrinthitis||Affects the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the nose||Affects the ear canal|
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How To Stop Earache Naturally At Home 20 Tips
Earache could be uncomfortable. Most cases of earache are caused and triggered by the fluid buildup in your middle ear and the ear infection. Other causes include an increase in air pressure, physical damage to the inside of the ear, blockage in your nasal passage, the wax in the ear, common cold, and so on. An earache occurs more commonly amongst small children than adults.
A mild earache could be addressed at home with ease just by making use of simple home remedies. It is likely that you will have one or more of them readily available right in the kitchen of your own home.
Symptoms Of A Middle Ear Infection
A middle ear infection generally develops very rapidly.
Signs and symptoms in children may include:
- Ear pain
- A child may excessively pull, tug or touch their ears
Symptoms of a middle ear infection in adults may include:
- Ear pain
- Partial hearing loss/muffled hearing
- Fluid in the ear or yellow, clear or bloody discharge from the ears
It is important to consult a doctor when:
- Symptoms develop in a child of six months or younger
- A child displays symptoms for 48 hours or more and has a temperature of 39 C or more
- Symptoms show no sign of improvement after two or three days
- Symptoms become worse rather than better over the first few days
- Discharge presents itself
- Symptoms are experienced by a person with an underlying health condition, such as cystic fibrosis or congenital heart disease, which could make complications more likely
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Other Causes Of Earache Or Ear Pain
Ear discomfort may be due to pain from a nearby structure that that radiates to the ear:
- TMJ pain. The temporomandibular joint, where the jaw attaches to the skull, is located adjacent to the external ear canal, and inflammation of this joint may be associated with ear pain. TM joint pain may be due to trauma or arthritis. Teeth grinding may cause irritation and ear pain as well.
- Sinusitis may be associated with increased pressure within the middle ear, causing pain.
- Dental problems and toothaches may radiate pain to the ear area.
- Mastoiditis. The mastoids are bony prominences of the skull filled with air cells and are located behind the ear. Infection of these areas may cause ear pain.
- Pharyngitis and tonsillitis may cause pain that radiates to the ear. A peritonsillar abscess will often result in ear pain in addition to difficulty opening the mouth and difficulty swallowing.
- Thyroid inflammation and carotid artery pain may also be associated with ear pain
- Trigeminal neuralgia. Inflammation of the fifth cranial nerve may cause significant facial pain including ear pain.
- Tinnitus. While not truly pain, ringing in the ear may cause significant discomfort
- Barotrauma describes injury to the ear because an acute change in pressure within the middle and inner ear. This may include changing pressures from flying in an airplane, scuba diving or snorkeling, or trauma due to a blast injury. Damage may occur to any or all of the eardrum, middle and inner ear.