How Is An Acute Middle Ear Infection Treated
Many doctors will prescribe an antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, to be taken over seven to 10 days. Your doctor also may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or eardrops, to help with fever and pain.
If your doctor isnt able to make a definite diagnosis of OM and your child doesnt have severe ear pain or a fever, your doctor might ask you to wait a day or two to see if the earache goes away. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines in 2013 that encourage doctors to observe and closely follow these children with ear infections that cant be definitively diagnosed, especially those between the ages of 6 months to 2 years. If theres no improvement within 48 to 72 hours from when symptoms began, the guidelines recommend doctors start antibiotic therapy. Sometimes ear pain isnt caused by infection, and some ear infections may get better without antibiotics. Using antibiotics cautiously and with good reason helps prevent the development of bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics.
If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, its important to make sure your child takes it exactly as prescribed and for the full amount of time. Even though your child may seem better in a few days, the infection still hasnt completely cleared from the ear. Stopping the medicine too soon could allow the infection to come back. Its also important to return for your childs follow-up visit, so that the doctor can check if the infection is gone.
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
When To See A Medical Provider
If you notice persistent ear infection symptoms that dont resolve on their own, call a healthcare professional.
This is particularly important for adults, as a middle ear infection can be a sign of a more serious problem in this age group compared to children.
And if you experience chronic ear infections, talk to your primary care provider, an otolaryngologist , or an otologist to discuss treatment options.
Read Also: Using Monistat For Yeast Infection
Oral Antibiotics Help Treat Swimmers Ear When:
- Infection spreads beyond the ear.
- The person has other conditions, such as diabetes, that increase the risk of complications.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
Sleep Without Putting Pressure On The Ear
Some sleep positions will aggravate pain from ear infections, while some can help relieve it. Sleep with the affected ear raised instead of having it faced down toward the pillow. This can help the ear drain better if necessary.
You can also sleep with your head elevated by using extra pillows. This can also help the ears drain faster.
Also Check: Z Pack Vs Amoxicillin For Sinus Infection
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.
Why Is This Medication Prescribed
Antipyrine and benzocaine otic is used to relieve ear pain and swelling caused by middle ear infections. It may be used along with antibiotics to treat an ear infection. It is also used to help remove a build up of ear wax in the ear. Antipyrine and benzocaine are in a class of medications called analgesics. The combination of antipyrine and benzocaine works by reducing pain and discomfort in the ear.
Read Also: Ww928 Pill For Tooth Infection
Can You Treat An Ear Infection At Home
It depends on the severity.
Mild-to-moderate ear infections frequently go away on their own. Fortunately, you can usually treat your symptoms at home in these situations. The CDC recommends rest, plenty of fluids, and pain relievers as the main home remedies for ear infections.
But severe ear infections cant, and shouldnt, be treated at home. You may need to take antibiotic or antiviral medications. Antibiotics and antivirals arent available OTC theyre only available with a prescription. In rare cases, your healthcare provider may also need to insert a small tube to help your ear drain.
If you need an antiviral medication, you should start taking it as soon as possible. For instance, if a virus like the flu has led to an ear infection, antiviral medications should ideally be taken within a few days of getting sick.
If you need an antibiotic, time isnt usually as sensitive. Your healthcare provider may recommend taking them right away, or they could recommend that you watch and wait before attempting to treat the infection.
Treating Outer Ear Infections
Outer ear infections are sometimes called swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa. This is an infection of the ear canal, the portion of the ear that leads from the outside and stops at the eardrum. The opening of this part of the ear is external and visible.
Outer ear infections are called swimmer’s ear because they can sometimes be caused by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
This is not the only way to get an outer ear infection, however. Bacteria, viruses, or fungi can be introduced to the outer ear in many ways, especially through broken skin, and usually result in an infection when a moist environment aids their growth.
Symptoms of an outer ear infection can include:
- Pain in the ear
- Redness and irritation inside the ear canal
- Itchy ear canal
- Flaky or peeling skin
More severe infections can lead to swelling of the ear canal, which may lead to muffled hearing, a fever, or ear drainage that looks like there is pus in it.
An outer ear infection can be diagnosed through an examination of the ear canal with an otoscope .
Don’t Miss: Ear Infection Causing Hearing Loss
How Do I Prevent An Ear Infection
If you or a loved one gets ear infections often, here are a few ways to prevent them:
Clean your hands to prevent the spread of germs
Dry your ears thoroughly after water activities
Breastfeed children for at least 12 months
Dont smoke, and try to avoid secondhand smoke
To Use The Eardrops Follow These Steps:
Recommended Reading: Strongest Otc Yeast Infection Medication
Can You Get Rid Of An Ear Infection Without Going To The Doctor
As mentioned, in many ear infection cases, the infection is due to a virus or weak bacteria. Thankfully, these mild infections can resolve without the need to see a healthcare provider.
But in other cases, your immune system may not be able to fight off the infection, causing continued discomfort. You should seek medical attention if you have any of the following:
Symptoms that last for more than 2 to 3 days
A fever of 102°F or higher
Pus or fluid coming from the ear
Oral Antibiotics Have Risks
- Oral antibiotics are more likely to cause resistant bacteria outside the ear. When that happens, these medicines will not work as well in the future. Illnesses will be harder to cure and more costly to treat.
- Antibiotic eardrops kill the bacteria faster and more completely than oral antibiotics. Drops dont go into the bloodstream, so more medicine reaches the infection.
Don’t Miss: What Do Dr Prescribe For Sinus Infection
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.
Antibiotics For Ear Infections: The Best Treatment Options
Ear infections are incredibly common in children, and they can also affect adults. Oftentimes ear infections go away in a few days without any treatment. When an ear infection is severe or doesnt resolve on its own, antibiotics may be a necessary and effective treatment.
In this article, Ill describe the different types of ear infections that affect children and adults. Then Ill discuss the antibiotics used to treat ear infections and their possible side effects.
Finally, Ill explain other treatment options, how best to prevent ear infections, and when you should speak with your doctor or pediatrician.
Recommended Reading: Can Sinus Infection Make Your Head Feel Weird
How To Administer Antibacterial Ear Drops
Antibiotic ear drops are for the ears only and should never be put into the eyes. Always take the entire prescribed amount even if your symptoms improve as it prevents a recurrence of the infection.
Follow these steps to correctly administer ear drops:
- Warm the bottle in your hand for two minutes, inserting cold ear drops can cause dizziness
- Wash your hands
- Have the person with the ear infection lie on their side with the problem ear up
- For children three years and older, gently pull the outer ear outward and upward in the direction toward the top of their head
- For children younger than three years, gently pull the outer eat outward and downward in the direction toward their feet
- Without allowing the dropper to touch the ear, carefully put the drops in the ear
- Remain laying on their side for two minutes or put a cotton plug in the ear
How Does A Doctor Diagnose A Middle Ear Infection
The first thing a doctor will do is ask you about your childs health. Has your child had a head cold or sore throat recently? Is he having trouble sleeping? Is she pulling at her ears? If an ear infection seems likely, the simplest way for a doctor to tell is to use a lighted instrument, called an otoscope, to look at the eardrum. A red, bulging eardrum indicates an infection.
A doctor also may use a pneumatic otoscope, which blows a puff of air into the ear canal, to check for fluid behind the eardrum. A normal eardrum will move back and forth more easily than an eardrum with fluid behind it.
Tympanometry, which uses sound tones and air pressure, is a diagnostic test a doctor might use if the diagnosis still isnt clear. A tympanometer is a small, soft plug that contains a tiny microphone and speaker as well as a device that varies air pressure in the ear. It measures how flexible the eardrum is at different pressures.
Read Also: What To Do If You Have A Bad Tooth Infection
How Do I Know If I Have An Ear Infection
Bacteria, viruses, or fungi can cause ear infections. But because you cant see inside your ear with the naked eye, your symptoms may be the only way to suspect if you have one. And they can vary depending on the area of the ear thats infected.
If you or your child have symptoms like these, an ear infection could be a possibility. To confirm an ear infection, a healthcare provider typically needs to look inside your ear using a medical device called an otoscope. They can also check to see if a bacteria, virus, or something else is causing your infection.
Keep in mind that more serious symptoms can also develop that require prompt medical attention. More on these later.
What Are The Types Of Middle
Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways. They are:
Acute otitis media. This middle-ear infection occurs suddenly. It causes swelling and redness. Fluid and mucus become trapped inside the ear. You can have a fever and ear pain.
Otitis media with effusion. Fluid and mucus build up in the middle ear after the infection goes away. You may feel like your middle ear is full. This can continue for months and may affect your hearing.
Chronic otitis media with effusion. Fluid remains in the middle ear for a long time. Or it builds up again and again, even though there is no infection. This type of middle-ear infection may be hard to treat. It may also affect your hearing.
You May Like: Do You Need Medicine For Sinus Infection
When Your Doctor May Prescribe Antibiotics
While every situation is unique, there are several factors that doctors consider when recommending antibiotics:
- What they see If the infection is in the outer ear, it may be clear its caused by bacteria. In this case your doctor may recommend antibiotic eardrops to help clean out the ear infection. If your doctor cant see the ear infection because its on the inside of the ear, they may not prescribe antibiotics right away.
- How long its been Viral infections typically go away on their own in 1-2 weeks. If the ear infection has been around for less than a week, your doctor may recommend waiting to see if the ear infection goes away on its own, a sign that its viral. If its been more than a week, your doctor may recommend starting antibiotics.
- Your childs age The doctor may be more likely to prescribe antibiotics for children under 2 years old, especially if they have infections in both ears, have pain thats moderate to severe, or have a fever.
- Symptoms If you or your child have certain symptoms, such as an extremely high fever or severe dehydration, your doctor may recommend starting antibiotics sooner.
- Medical conditions Your doctor may recommend starting antibiotics right away if there are certain medical conditions, such as cleft palate or repeat infections, that could lead to problems with an ear infection. In most cases, antibiotics will also be recommended when someone with a cochlear implant gets an ear infection.
How Do Ear Infection Antibiotics Work
Ear infections are no fun for anyone.
Since most ear infections are caused by bacteria, its typically best to treat individual cases with antibiotics.
But antibiotic treatment isnt appropriate for every ear infection. There are a variety of factors to consider, including:
Recurring ear infections may also require a different approach.
If youre considering ear infection antibiotics for yourself or a loved one, learn more about how these medications work and how they can be both helpful and possibly harmful.
Ear infections are most prevalent in young children. Theyre often the byproducts of upper respiratory infections.
You or your child might experience other symptoms before the ear infection, including:
If an upper respiratory infection is caused by bacteria, then its possible to have an ear infection at the same time.
An ear infection occurs when bacteria gets trapped in your middle ear. Bacteria known as Hemophilus influenza and Streptococcus pneumoniae are the most common bacterial culprits.
But an ear infection may still occur if you have a viral respiratory illness. As you recover, its possible for bacteria to travel to your middle ear and become trapped, leading to a secondary infection in your ears.
Read Also: Eye Infection Not Pink Eye
How K Health Can Help
Did you know you can access online urgent care with K Health?
Check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed, text with a healthcare provider in minutes.
K Healths AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and is based on 20 years of clinical data.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Before Using Antipyrine And Benzocaine Otic
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to antipyrine or benzocaine or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.
- tell your doctor if you have a hole in your ear drum or ear tube. Your doctor will probably tell you not to use this medication.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using antipyrine and benzocaine otic, call your doctor.
You May Like: Urine Test For Yeast Infection
Ear Infections In Older Adults
While ear infections are more common in children, older adults can also get them.
Swimmerâs ear is most common in people ages 45 to 75. A potentially life threatening ear infection, malignant otitis externa , mostly occurs in older people with diabetes or weakened immune systems.
The aging process may affect the structure of the ears, making older adults more susceptible to ear diseases.
A of 138 people ages 60 and over found that 9.4% had a middle ear infection.
Older adults who have ear infections may experience symptoms such as the following: