Are There Natural At
Yes. While taking antibiotics is still considered the gold standard of UTI treatments, there are some things you can do at home that help relieve symptoms, as well. These include:
- Drink plenty of water. Consuming at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily can help flush away UTI-causing bacteria, setting you up for a quicker recovery. Plus, the more you drink, the more youll have to urinate.
- Urinate often. Each time you empty your bladder, youre helping to flush bacteria out of your system.
- Try heat. Applying a heating pad to your pubic area for 15 minutes at a time can help soothe the pressure and pain caused by UTI-related inflammation and irritation.
- Tweak your wardrobe. Wearing loose cotton clothing and underwear can help you recover from a UTI.
- Go fragrance-free. Make sure your personal hygiene products are fragrance-free to sidestep further irritation, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
- Cut out certain irritants. Caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, raw onions, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, and nicotine can further irritate your bladder, making it more difficult for your body to heal, per the Cleveland Clinic.
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Should I Use Antibiotics For An Ear Infection
Antibiotics are a medicine prescribed by your doctor. If youre dealing with an ear infection caused by bacteria, youll likely need antibiotics. They are the best way of quickly getting rid of a bacterial infection and preventing it from spreading to other parts of the body.
The catch is that antibiotics dont work against viruses if you use antibiotics on a viral ear infection, it can actually make the infection worse. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to a condition called antibiotic resistance, which means that the medicine becomes less effective at fighting off bacteria.
Thats why doctors are careful about using antibiotics wisely and may not immediately prescribe them for ear infections.
Infections Inside The Ear
Antibiotics are not usually offered because infections inside the ear often clear up on their own and antibiotics make little difference to symptoms, including pain.
Antibiotics might be prescribed if:
- an ear infection does not start to get better after 3 days
- you or your child has any fluid coming out of the ear
- there are other factors that increase your or your childs risk of complications, such as having a weakened immune system
They may also be prescribed if your child is less than 2 years old and has an infection in both ears.
If antibiotics are not prescribed, eardrops containing a painkiller and an anaesthetic might be prescribed.
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When To See A Doctor
A typical ear infection will start to improve in a couple of days and will be cleared up in two weeks or less. Some ear infections, however, will need medical treatment. Call your healthcare provider if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Symptoms that don’t get better or worsen over two or three days
- Severe pain that resolves suddenly
- Headache or dizziness
- Fluid or blood draining from your ear
- Swelling behind your ear
- Weakness in your facial muscles
What Causes An Ear Infection
An ear infection usually is caused by bacteria and often begins after a child has a sore throat, cold, or other upper respiratory infection. If the upper respiratory infection is bacterial, these same bacteria may spread to the middle ear if the upper respiratory infection is caused by a virus, such as a cold, bacteria may be drawn to the microbe-friendly environment and move into the middle ear as a secondary infection. Because of the infection, fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
The ear has three major parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The outer ear, also called the pinna, includes everything we see on the outsidethe curved flap of the ear leading down to the earlobebut it also includes the ear canal, which begins at the opening to the ear and extends to the eardrum. The eardrum is a membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.
The middle earwhich is where ear infections occuris located between the eardrum and the inner ear. Within the middle ear are three tiny bones called the malleus, incus, and stapes that transmit sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. The bones of the middle ear are surrounded by air.
The inner ear contains the labyrinth, which help us keep our balance. The cochlea, a part of the labyrinth, is a snail-shaped organ that converts sound vibrations from the middle ear into electrical signals. The auditory nerve carries these signals from the cochlea to the brain.
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What Are The Possible Side
It is not possible in this leaflet to list all the possible side-effects of each antibiotic. However, as with all medicines, there are a number of side-effects that have been reported with each of the different antibiotics. If you want more information specific to your antibiotic then you should read the information leaflet that comes with the medicine.
Most side-effects of antibiotics are not serious. Common side-effects include soft stools , diarrhoea, or mild stomach upset such as feeling sick . Less commonly, some people have an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and some have died from a severe allergic reaction â this is very rare.
You should tell your doctor if you have any of the following side-effects:
- Severe watery diarrhoea and tummy cramps: signs of a serious bacterial infection of the gut âClostridium difficile infection.
- White patches on the tongue: signs of oral thrush.
Some antibiotics may interact with other medicines that you might take. This may cause reactions, or reduce the effectiveness of one or other of the treatments. So, when you are prescribed an antibiotic you should tell a doctor if you take other medicines.
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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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.
Articles On Ear Infection Treatments
If you care for children, you likely know already how often they come down with earaches. Adults get them, too, but youngsters have them much more often. Thatâs because they donât fight off viruses and bacteria as well, and their little ears arenât good at draining fluids yet.
You or your child may have a sore throat, stuffy nose, or fever along with an earache. These are signs of a possible infection.
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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.
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.
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What Are The Advantages Of Ototopical Antibiotics
Administration of antibiotics directly in the ear has several advantages over systemic delivery including the following:
- Topical antibiotic solutions contain vastly greater concentration of antibiotic than the medications administered orally, or even intravenously. The high antibiotic concentration, delivered directly at the site of the infection, is much more effective in killing the bacteria. It also reduces the possibility for development of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.
- The lowest level of drug concentration that can prevent bacterial growth is known as minimum inhibitory concentration . Some drug-resistant bacteria have a high MIC, but ototopical antibiotics far exceed the MIC required for destroying even highly resistant bacteria.
Absence of systemic effects
- The absence of systemic effects with topical administration eliminates the risk of systemic antibiotic side effects. The normal beneficial bacteria that live in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts are unaffected. Absence of systemic antibiotics also prevents the natural selection and proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria.
Alteration of microenvironment
- Ototopical antibiotics are generally less expensive than comparable systemic medications.
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.
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Otitis Media With Effusion
Otitis media with effusion is a buildup of fluid deep inside the middle ear. The pressure of this fluid may cause pain and temporary hearing loss.
OME, which is sometimes called “glue ear,” may clear up on its own. Sometimes a minor procedure to place small tubes in the ear can help drain the fluid to provide relief.
About Middle Ear Infections
Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear that causes inflammation and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum.
Anyone can develop a middle ear infection but infants between six and 15 months old are most commonly affected.
Its estimated that around one in every four children experience at least one middle ear infection by the time theyre 10 years old.
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How Do Ear Infections Happen
A middle ear infection usually happens because of swelling in one or both of the eustachian tubes . The tubes let mucus drain from the middle ear into the throat.
A cold, throat infection, acid reflux, or allergies can make the eustachian tubes swell. This blocks the mucus from draining. Then, or grow in the mucus and make pus, which builds up in the middle ear.
When doctors refer to an ear infection, they usually mean otitis media rather than swimmerâs ear . Otitis media with effusion is when noninfected fluid builds up in the ear. It might not cause symptoms, but in some kids, the fluid creates a sensation of ear fullness or âpopping.â
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
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Before An Ear Infection Occurs You Can Reduce The Risk Of Ear Infection With These Tips:
- Teach children to wash their hands properly and frequently. Encourage children to cough or sneeze into their elbow.
- Avoid secondhand smoke by staying in smoke-free environments.
- Consider breastfeeding your baby for a minimum of 6 months. Breast milk contains antibodies that may protect from ear infections.
- When bottle-feeding, hold your baby upright and avoid propping the bottle while your baby is lying down.
- Talk to your children’s primary care provider about vaccines, including the seasonal flu shot for children 6 months and older.
Timothy Slama, D.O., is a Family Medicine physician in Fairmont, Minnesota.
For the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a non-patient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
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Treating Inner Ear Infections
The inner ear is located next to the middle ear within the temporal bone. The inner ear contains the semicircular canals, which are essential to balance and equilibrium.
Inner ear infections are much more likely to be caused by a virus than a bacterial infection. They are much less common than outer ear infections or middle ear infections.
The most common inner ear infections include labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis, which are slightly different conditions.
Labyrinthitis affects the labyrinth, which is a system of fluid-filled sacs that helps you hear and gives you a sense of balance. Labyrinthitis can cause both hearing changes and dizziness, or vertigo.
Vestibular neuritis is an inner ear infection that affects the vestibular nerve and usually causes dizziness and balance issues but no hearing changes.
There is no specific diagnostic test to identify an inner ear infection, so misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is common.
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What Matters Most To You
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to give your child antibiotics
Reasons to wait and see
I’m not worried about the risk of side effects from antibiotics.
I’m worried that my child could have side effects from antibiotics.
I want to get my child’s infection taken care of now.
I’m willing to wait a couple of days for the infection to go away on its own.
I’m not concerned that using antibiotics a lot could make them not work in the future.
I’m concerned that antibiotics might not work in the future if my child uses them a lot.
I don’t want to spend money on medicine my child may not need.
Preventing An Ear Infection
It isnt always possible to prevent ear infections, especially those caused by bacterial or viral infections.
However, there are some things you can do to help prevent you or your child from getting ear infections:
- Wash hands well and often:This will help prevent the spread of germs, some of which can cause ear infections.
- Dont smoke: And also try to reduce or eliminate your exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Get vaccinated:Staying up to date with vaccines may help prevent ear infections.
- Manage your allergies: If allergies trigger your ear infections, talk with your doctor about the best measures to control your allergies.
- Hydrogen peroxide: This home prevention remedy may work particularly for swimmers ear by removing ear wax that can trap water and bacteria in your ear. Talk to your doctor or ENT before trying hydrogen peroxide, though.
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