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.
When To See A Doctor
Any infection that lasts past three days needs to be checked out by your doctor. Other times when a doctor visit is necessary is when there is a high fever, when the fluid does not drain after the infection clears up, if your immune system is compromised, or if you seem to be having ear infections on a regular basis. All of these conditions can mean you are dealing with a much greater problem that will need a doctors care.
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 the infection is fungal, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal medication.
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.
To help prevent an ear infection of any kind, follow these tips:
- Make sure you dry your ears completely after swimming or taking a shower.
- Try quitting smoking, and limit or avoid secondhand smoke when possible.
- Manage your allergies by avoiding triggers and keeping up with allergy medications.
- Wash your hands thoroughly, and try to limit contact with people who have colds or other upper respiratory problems.
- Make sure your vaccines are up to date.
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Garlic May Interact With Some Medications
Garlic supplements should not be taken with medications that are transported by P-gp. This includes:
Because of the increased risk of bleeding associated with garlic supplements, talk to your healthcare provider about their use if you take an anticoagulant such as warfarin or if you need surgery.
Garlic supplements may interfere with the effectiveness of saquinavir and other medications, dietary herbs, or supplements.
Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements, including garlic.
Types Of Ear Infections
There are three main types of ear infections that can affect you at any age, each named for the part of the ear they infect: inner ear, middle ear, and outer ear. An outer ear infection affects the part of your ear you see and touch, and its typically caused by some kind of injury, like a cut or abrasion.
An inner ear infection is rare and may indicate a serious health condition, such as meningitis. If your inner ear is inflamed or infected, you may feel nauseated and dizzy.
Middle ear infections are the most common type. This condition, also called otitis media, happens when fluid gets trapped behind your eardrum. As your eardrum swells, you may feel pain, as well as a sense that your ear is filled or plugged, which hinders your hearing. You might also notice some drainage.
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What Are Vaginal Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are common infections caused by Candida albicans yeast, which is a type of fungus. Yeast infections usually happen in warm, moist parts of the body, such as the mouth, and moist areas of skin.
A yeast infection in the vagina is known as vulvovaginal candidiasis . Vaginal yeast infections are common in young women, and many will have one at some point. Theyre not an STD .
What Causes An Outer Ear Infection
Swimming can lead to an outer ear infection. The water left inside the ear canal can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
An infection can also occur if the thin layer of skin that lines the ear canal is injured. Intense scratching, using headphones, or placing cotton swabs in your ear can damage this delicate skin.
When this layer of skin becomes damaged and inflamed, it can provide a foothold for bacteria. Cerumen is the ears natural defense against infection, but constant exposure to moisture and scratching can deplete the ear of cerumen, making infections more likely.
Severe pain in the face, head, or neck can signify that the infection has advanced considerably. Symptoms accompanied by a fever or swollen lymph nodes may also indicate advancing infection. If you have ear pain with any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.
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Antibiotics And Other Prescriptions
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , using antibiotics by mouth to treat ear infections may not help certain cases of middle ear infections. Antibiotics are not effective against outer ear and viral infections.
The main treatments for outer ear infections are manual cleanings and ear drops. The type of ear drop will depend on what is causing the infection. In the case of malignant otitis externa, intravenous antibiotics are the primary treatment.
How Dangerous Are Untreated Ear Infections In Adults
Itchiness or pain. Trouble hearing. Fluid leaking out of the ears. These symptoms may have been all too common when we were kids, but as an adult, the signs of an ear infection are probably something you have not felt in quite some time. While ear infectionsmiddle ear infections in particularare more common in children, they are not unheard of in adults. In this blog post we explore the risks and complications of leaving an ear infection untreated in adults.
In our last blog, we talked about the difference between middle ear infections , and outer ear infections , more commonly known as swimmers ear. Otitis media is caused by either bacteria or viruses. A common cold, the flu, or allergy symptoms that cause congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat, and eustachian tubes can sometimes lead to an infection. Anything that makes the nose stuffy has a tendency to cause swelling and blockage of the eustachian tubes. Swelling from colds or allergies can keep the eustachian tubes from opening and this leads to pressure changes and the accumulation of fluid in the middle ear. This pressure and fluid will cause pain and sometimes persistent fluid can lead to an infection.
Untreated chronic ear infections can also cause tears in the eardrum. These tears will typically heal within a few days, though in more extreme cases, surgical repair might be required.
Ear Infection Treatments
Ear Infection Prevention
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When Should I Talk To A Doctor About An Ear Infection
If the ear infection symptoms dont improve within a few days, make a primary care appointment. Other signs that its time to see a doctor include:
- Ear pain that lasts more than two days
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Changes or loss of hearing
- Fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit
- Frequent or recurrent ear infections
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.
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How Are Sinus Infections Treated
Many sinus infections caused by a virus will resolve on their own without any treatment with antibiotics, Melinda said. This is important because if you dont need antibiotics, its better not to take them as they can cause side effects and long-term resistance. An infection caused by bacteria, however, will likely require antibiotics.
Sometimes your health care provider may ask you to take over-the-counter medications to help your symptoms and monitor your condition further.
Examples of over-the-counter medication include:
- Saline nasal spray
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief
- A warm compress on your nose and forehead to relieve sinus pressure
What Is A Yeast Infection Pictures
Most vaginal yeast-based infections are caused by the organism Candidiasis. Yeast infections are incredibly common and have an impact on up to 75% of women at some point in their life time. The main warning sign of a genital yeast infection is itching, but burning, discharge, and pain with urination or intercourse can also occur.
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How Are Ear Infections In Toddlers Diagnosed
A pediatrician uses the following procedures to determine the presence of an ear infection :
- Ask questions about medical history: The doctor will ask you about the toddlers medical history to know if he suffered from a cold or throat infection recently. Cold and throat infections commonly lead to ear infection.
- Ear inspection with otoscope: The doctor inserts a specialized camera equipment called otoscope into the ear canal to inspect the eardrum. A reddened or inflamed eardrum indicates an ear infection. This is the most common way to diagnose otitis media.
- Acoustic reflectometry: Pneumatic otoscope sends short puffs of air to the eardrum. A healthy eardrum flutters due to the air, but an infected middle ear stays stiff. This procedure is called acoustic reflectometry.
- Tympanometry: A tiny speaker with a sensor is placed within the ear canal, and sound waves of different frequencies are emitted. The sensor measures the movement of the eardrum at various frequencies. The extent an eardrum moves can determine the severity of the ear infection. Tympanometry requires the patient to stay still, and not talk. Therefore, it is better suited for older toddlers who can understand instructions.
Depending on the cause behind the ear infection, the doctor suggests the treatment methods.
What Does A Sinus Headache Feel Like
Sinus headaches are headaches that may feel like an infection in the sinuses . You may feel pressure around your eyes, cheeks and forehead. Perhaps your head throbs. However, many people who assume they have headaches from sinusitis, including many who have received such a diagnosis, actually have migraines.
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Clogged Ears: Causes Symptoms And Treatment Options
In this article:
It is common for people to experience sudden stuffiness in their ears, which is often short-lived. More often than not, you may experience this stuffiness along with diminished hearing, pain, and imbalance, on account of a clogged ear or Eustachian tube dysfunction.
Almost anyone can suffer from a clogged ear, but it affects children more frequently than adults, especially during a common cold or nasal allergy.
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Ear Infection Signs And Symptoms
The telltale sign of an ear infection is pain in and around the ear. Young children can develop ear infections before they are old enough to talk. That means parents are often left guessing why their child appears to be suffering. When your child can’t say “my ear hurts,” the following signs suggest an ear infection could be the culprit:
- Tugging or pulling the ear
- Crying and irritability
- Fever, especially in younger children
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty hearing or responding to auditory cues
Signs that require immediate attention include high fever, severe pain, or bloody or pus-like discharge from the ears.
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Diagnosis Of Ear Infections
Your physician will look into your ear with an otoscope, a medical instrument with a light on one end designed to get a better view inside the ear. Your doctor will look for the visual signs of ear infection, such as redness and inflammation.
To check for fluid buildup, a pneumatic otoscope, which blows air at the eardrum, will be used. If there is excessive fluid behind the eardrum, it will not move as it should when the air hits it.
In some cases, hearing tests may also be performed to assess any damage to the ear from the infection.
Different types of ear infections present with different symptoms, which can include:
- Inner ear infections: Hearing loss, ringing in the ears , dizziness, loss of balance, nausea and vomiting, and ear pain
- Middle ear infections: Fluid in the ear, ear pain, fever, a feeling of general illness, pressure in the ears, and hearing loss
- Outer ear infections: Inflammation of the ear canal, itching in the ear, ear pain, swelling of the ear canal, redness, and fluid draining from the ear
Ear Infection Doctor Discussion Guide
Children with ear infections, especially toddlers or infants, may not be able to describe their symptoms, but an ear infection will often present with the following signs:
- Tugging or pulling at their ears
- Fussing or crying
- Being clumsy and having balance issues
- Trouble hearing or responding to quiet noises
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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Home Remedies For Bacterial Sinusitis
In many cases, home remedies may be sufficient. Some people find breathing humid air or steam, such as in a warm shower, helps to relieve symptoms. Also, holding a warm pad over the painful area helps to relieve discomfort. Nasal irrigation with saline solution is helpful in reducing congestion in the nose. It is also very important to stay well-hydrated, so affected people should be sure to drink enough fluids.
How To Remove Ear Wax Safely
So how can you best handle ear wax woes?
Sometimes, trying to clean them causes more problems than its worth, says Dr. Nguyen-Huynh. Ears are like self-cleaning ovens. When the outer layer of skin in the ear canal sheds, the wax will fall out with it.
If ear wax is becoming a nuisance, Dr. Nguyen-Huynh recommends several easy ear cleaning methods:
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Home Care To Relieve Ear Pain
If you have ear pain, itâs a good idea to talk with your doctor about it.
Thereâs little research to say whether or not home care works, but most doctors agree these treatments are safe to try yourself:
A cool or warm compress. Soak a washcloth in either cool or warm water, wring it out, and then put it over the ear that’s bothering you. Try both temperatures to see if one helps you more than the other.
A heating pad: Lay your painful ear on a warm, not hot, heating pad.
Over-the-counter ear drops with pain relievers. If they help at all, itâs only briefly. You shouldnât use these drops if your eardrum has a tear or hole, so check with your doctor first.
Chew gum. If youâre on an airplane or driving at high altitudes and your ear pain is from the change in air pressure, chew some gum. It can help lower that pressure and ease your symptoms.
Sleep upright. While it may sound strange, resting or sleeping sitting up rather than lying down can encourage fluid in your ear to drain. This could ease pressure and pain in your middle ear. Prop yourself up in bed with a stack of pillows, or sleep in an armchair thatâs a bit reclined.
What Happens If An Ear Infection Is Left Untreated
Fluid buildup in the ear can be damaging even if theres no infection and may lead to a ruptured eardrum and hearing loss. So, its important to see the doctor if symptoms remain after finishing the antibiotics. Theyll likely want to take a look in your ear and learn more about your symptoms.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend you see an ear, nose and throat doctor. The ENT doctor may recommend surgery to place small metal or plastic tubes in the ear canal to make it easier for the fluid to drain out. Your doctor may also recommend ear tube surgery for your child if they have recurrent ear infections.
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