When To Contact A Medical Professional
Contact your provider if:
- You have swelling behind the ear.
- Your symptoms get worse, even with treatment.
- You have high fever or severe pain.
- Severe pain suddenly stops, which may indicate a ruptured eardrum.
- New symptoms appear, especially severe headache, dizziness, swelling around the ear, or twitching of the face muscles.
Let the provider know right away if a child younger than 6 months has a fever, even if the child doesn’t have other symptoms.
More Ear Infection Remedies
Top Foods for Ear Infections
- Water: Helps maintain hydration and clear out mucus.
- Wild-caught fish: Omega-3 fats found in wild-caught fish help to reduce inflammation.
- Non-dairy baby formula: If a baby drinks formula, I recommend switching to coconut or goats milk-based formulas which tend to cause fewer allergies. However, breast-feeding is most ideal.
- Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C: Keeps immune system strong, which helps the bodys ability to ward off infection.
Foods to Avoid
- Potential food allergens: Some common allergens include conventional dairy, gluten, shrimp and peanuts.
- Conventional dairy: Pasteurized-cow dairy products can be mucus-producing and worsen infection.
- Sugar: Reduces immune function and encourages inflammation.
- Processed foods: These foods may contain added chemicals and dyes that young children can be sensitive to.
Supplement Ear Infection Remedies
- Garlic oil ear drops Garlic oil is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
- Zinc Zinc boosts immune function and promotes healing.
- Vitamin C Vitamin C enhances immune function and lowers inflammation.
- Vitamin D3 Vitamin D3 helps support the immune system.
How Is Swimmer’s Ear Treated
Your doctor’s treatment for swimmer’s ear will depend on how severe the pain and the infection are. For most outer ear infections, your doctor may prescribe ear drops containing antibiotics possibly mixed with medicine to help improve swelling and inflammation. These will help fight the infection and ease swelling of the ear canal. Ear drops are usually given several times a day for 7 to 10 days.
If the opening into your ear is narrowed by swelling, your doctor may clean your ear and insert a wick into your ear canal to help carry ear drops into the ear more effectively. For a severe infection, you might also get antibiotic liquid or pills to take. Your doctor may send some of the fluid draining from your ear to a lab to help identify what type of germ is causing the infection.
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How Do You Prevent Ear Infections
You may be able to prevent ear some ear infections if you:
- Use earplugs when swimming or diving
- Dry ears thoroughly after swimming
- Never use cotton swabs inside the ear canal
- Wash hands properly to prevent the spread of viruses
- Use soap and warm water and wash for at least 20 seconds
What Are Common Ear Problems In Dogs
The most common canine ear problems are excessive ear wax build up, ear mites , dog ear hematoma and ear infections.
If caught early, ear infections in dogs can be easily treated. Treatment options range from prescription antibiotics or anti-fungal agents, ear cleansers and natural ear drops. Veterinarians often add a glucocorticoid such as prednisone, which can help reduce inflammation and improve the speed of healing.
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What Are Some Home Remedies For An Ear Infection
Be sure to see a doctor if you have a fever of 102.2F or higher, discharge , difficulty hearing, worsening symptoms, or symptoms that have lasted more than 2-3 days.
If you have mild symptoms, home treatments can help relieve the pain and inflammation associated with an ear infection by getting plenty of rest and drinking extra fluids. Some people find a warm compress brings comfort. Gargling with salt water may help soothe a sore throat and clear the eustachian tubes in the ears. The eustachian tube is a canal that connects the middle ear to the upper part of the throat and back of the nasal cavityit regulates air pressure and drains fluids from the middle ear).
Due to pressure being built up in the infected ear, sleeping with the infected, painful side up may be more comfortable for children. For adults, performing neck range of motion exercises may relieve some pressure, resulting in relief of discomfort.
Diagnosis Of Outer Ear Infection
Your GP will usually be able to diagnose an outer ear infection by asking about your symptoms and examining your ear. They may also ask about your medical history to check if theres anything that could have caused your symptoms.
Your GP may look into your ear using an instrument called an otoscope to check for any signs of infection. They may ask you to move your ear or jaw to see if you feel pain.
If your symptoms are particularly severe or they dont get better after treatment or they come back, your GP may collect some discharge using a cotton swab. This will be sent to a laboratory for testing to find out whether the cause of your ear infection is bacterial or a fungus.
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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 malignant otitis, your ear is likely to be very painful. You may also have a high temperature, headache, ear discharge and dizziness. You may notice some loss of movement of the muscles in your face.
If you have these symptoms, its important to seek medical help straight away. Malignant otitis can be life-threatening if it isnt treated.
Pain Relief And Fever
Fast pain relief is the focus of treatment. Children can be given acetaminophen and ibuprofen. In Germany and other countries, these medications are available without a prescription. Both relieve pain and lower fever. They can be given as suppositories or syrup. Ibuprofen has an anti-inflammatory effect too.
The dosage of these medications depends on the childs age and body weight. When using them, the minimum time interval between doses must be observed as well. You will find more information about how to use them and about their possible side effects in the package insert that comes with them. If you still have any questions, you can also ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Acetylsalicylic acid should not be used in children and teenagers unless a doctor has prescribed it because it could lead to a rare, but dangerous, side effect called Reyes syndrome.
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How Well Do Antibiotics Clear Up Ear Infections
Antibiotics work most of the time to treat ear infections caused by bacteria. But they won’t treat ear infections caused by viruses.
No matter what causes the infection, most children 6 months and older won’t need antibiotics. Up to 80 out of 100 ear infections get better on their own, while 20 out of 100 don’t.footnote 2
You can help ease your child’s pain at home, whether you use antibiotics or wait for the ear infection to get better on its own.
- Give your child an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen . Read and follow all instructions on the label. If you give medicine to your baby, follow your doctor’s advice about what amount to give. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. Aspirin has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
- Put a warm cloth on the ear.
- Help your child rest by arranging quiet play.
- Give your child eardrops for pain if your doctor prescribes them.
Doctors may prescribe antibiotics if a child:footnote 1
- Is very ill from the infection. For example, your child may be dehydrated.
- Has other health problems, such as cleft palate or repeat infections that could put him or her at risk for serious problems from an ear infection.
- Has cochlear implants. Children who have these hearing devices are at risk for more serious infection.
Natural Ear Infection Remedies
Are you struggling with symptoms of an ear infection and wondering how to cure an ear infection fast? Ear infections, whether they afflict adults or more commonly children, can be really unpleasant and outright painful.
Ear infections can be in the outer, middle or inner ear. For this article, Im going to focus on the most common type of ear infection, which is an infection of the middle ear.
According to the CDC, middle ear infections, may not need antibiotics in many cases because the bodys immune system can fight off the infection without help from antibiotics and a mild case often will get better on its own without antibiotic treatment, so your health care professional may recommend watchful waiting before prescribing antibiotics to you or your loved one.
So even conventional medicine agrees that antibiotics are often not the way to go, which means its time to talk about natural ear infection treatment and ear infection pain relief.
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How Is A Fungal Ear Infection Treated
If the inside of your ear looks really messy, the doctor may suggest a clean-up. This has the odd name of aural toilet. It can be done by a doctor or more usually a nurse. It involves gently clearing the ear of discharge using swabs, a suction tube or syringe. This may need to be done several times a week in the first instance. Aural toileting eases discomfort and also helps ear drops to get to the right place. However, it may be a bit uncomfortable while you’re having it done, and you may need to take some painkillers.
Don’t fiddle with your ear, keep it dry and try to resist scratching inside, however itchy it may be, as this will stop the infection from clearing up. It’s not usually advisable to put a cotton wool plug in the ear unless you get a lot of discharge and you need to keep it under control for the sake of appearances.
Avoid swimming until the condition clears up.
Your doctor may prescribe 5% aluminium acetate ear drops. This is also known as Burow’s solution. It’s not an antifungal but is used to calm down inflammation and help remove any muck in your ear.
Anatomy Of An Ear Infection
The ear is divided into the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Infection can occur in any of these areas, but bacterial infections of the inner ear are extremely rare.
Different types of germs can cause infections in the ear, including bacteria, viruses, and even fungi. Infections can be brought on by an illness, such as a cold or allergies.
Ear infections generally occur when a germ gains entry into one of the three areas of the ear and grows there.
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What Is The Outlook For A Fungal Ear Infection
Providing you’re otherwise fit and well and your immune system is working properly, the infection should respond fairly quickly to antifungal treatment. However, if you have a long-term condition that makes you prone to getting repeated infections it may well come back or become persistent. Also if you’re exposed to whatever it was that caused the infection in the first place , it’s likely to return.
The problem with fungal infections is that once the ear canal is infected the defence system protecting the ear may not return to normal and a vicious cycle is set up. This explains why frequently poking around inside your ear with a cotton bud prolongs the condition.
Earache Remedies You Can Try
1. Hot or cold compress
The skinny: Grab an ice or heat pack and put it onthe affected ear to help with the pain.
Doctors advice: The temperature you use is up to you. Wrap it in a towel tomake sure its not too cold or too hot. You dont want to cause any burns.
2.Over-the-counter pain relievers
The skinny: Pain relievers work as advertised, helping take the edge off the pain.
Doctors advice:Both adults and kids can rest easier when they take acetaminophen or ibuprofen at the right dosage. These medications reduce pain and fever, making you feel more comfortable.
3. Sleep position
The skinny: How you sleep can affect ear pain. Rest with your head on two or more pillows, so the affected ear is higher than the rest of your body. Or if the left ear has an infection, sleep on your right side. Less pressure = less ear pain.
Doctors advice: It could be effective, though a few inches may not make a big difference in pressure measurement. But if it makes you feel better, go for it.
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What Is The Best Antibiotic For Ear Infections
A doctor will determine the type of ear infection through physical examination and patient interview. A diagnosis of acute otitis media can be confirmed by the presence of pus near the eardrum in the middle ear.
It is worth noting that not all cases of otitis media or outer ear canal infection require antibiotic treatment. The bodys immune system can fight off many infections on its own. Typically, antibiotics are only indicated for a severe infection or an ear infection that worsens or does not improve within 2 to 3 days.
In mild cases, your doctor may advise the wait-and-see approach to see if rest, extra fluid intake, and pain medication can relieve earache and fever while the body fights off the infection. In that case, your doctor may send a prescription for antibiotics to be on hold at the pharmacy, then to be used if your signs and symptoms do not go away in a couple of days.
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.
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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.
Cold Or Warm Compresses
People often use ice packs or warm compresses, like a heating pad or damp washcloth, to relieve pain. The same can be done for ear pain. This method is safe for both children and adults.
Place the ice pack or warm compress over the ear and alternate between warm and cold after 10 minutes. If you prefer either cold or warm, you can use just one compress.
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Medicines For Outer Ear Infection
Your GP may recommend or prescribe the following medicines to treat your outer ear infection and ease your symptoms.
- Over-the-counter painkillers. Your GP may recommend over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to help ease any pain. They may prescribe codeine if your pain is severe.
- Ear drops or sprays. Your GP may prescribe ear drops or a spray containing an antibiotic or an antifungal. Sometimes this may be combined with a corticosteroid. You usually need to use these for at least seven days and up to a maximum of 14 days.
- Antibiotic tablets or capsules. Oral antibiotics arent usually needed for outer ear infections. But your GP may prescribe them if you have a serious infection or an infection that cant be treated with ear drops and sprays. Your GP may refer you to a specialist if you need oral antibiotics.
Always read the instruction leaflet that comes with your medicines. If you have any questions about your medicines and how to take them, ask your pharmacist. We have more information on applying ear drops in our FAQ: What is the best way to apply ear drops?