An ear infection can happen to an adult or a child, although it is very common in children. An ear infection occurs in the middle ear, the space behind the eardrum containing tiny bones picking up sounds to take to the inner ear. It especially happens due to the cold or flu, as germs in the throat may rise up the Eustachian tubes into the middle ear, thus infecting it. Because the Eustachian tubes of infants and children are not as good at self-draining as those of adults, children are more susceptible to ear infections. In case one happens to you or your child, here’s what to look out for and what to do.
The symptoms of an ear infection include sharp pain in the ear(s,) nausea, dizziness or vertigo, difficulty hearing, headache, and drainage from the ear(s.) With children, restlessness, crying, and trouble sleeping may be symptoms of pain. If there is a pain in the ear that suddenly stops, or blood and puss drain from the ear, you may likely have a ruptured eardrum.
Ear infections are categorized into three diagnoses.
Acute otitis media describes the case in which there are signs that fluid has collected in the middle ear, symptoms of an infection, and the pain or discomfort has happened suddenly.
Otitis media with effusion describes an ear that shows fluid in the middle ear, but no show of infection.
Chronic suppurative otitis media shows a longterm ear infection that has resulted in a ruptured eardrum.
Wait It Out
Doctors have found that waiting it out may be the only necessary treatment. If the infection is a virus, then antibiotics, the usual treatment for decades, is not effective. Often, an ear infection will go away on its own after one or two days. The body will be able to fight off the infection or virus on its own.
In the meantime, talk to your audiologist about proper ways to manage the pain. A warm or cold compress can help, though take caution when applied to young children. Pain medication like Advil or Tylenol can give temporary relief as well as ear drops. However, avoid aspirin, as it can cause children and even teens to have Reye’s syndrome. Avoid ear drops if the eardrum is torn or ruptured.
If symptoms persist past 48 hours, antibiotics may be the key. It is best to take the medicine as prescribed even when the infection is past to avoid a recurrence.
When someone has recurring ear infections, the doctor may conduct surgery to improve natural ear drainage by way of inserting ear tubes through the eardrum. Adults and older children can be awake, while young children may need to go under for it. These slim tubes can be temporary, made to last for six months to a year.
Trust the Experts at Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions
Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service to the surrounding areas of Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.
Come in for a walk-in appointment on Tuesdays & Fridays from 10:00 am to 11:30 am, or contact us to schedule an appointment by calling 410-698-6594 or visiting our contact page. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn for more blog posts, news, and updates!