When Should You Call Your Doctor
- Your child has sudden hearing loss, severe pain, or dizziness.
- Your child seems to be very sick with symptoms such as a high fever and stiff neck.
- You notice redness, swelling, or pain behind or around your child’s ear, especially if your child doesn’t move the muscles on that side of his or her face.
- You can’t quiet your child who has a severe earache by using home treatment over several hours.
- Your baby pulls or rubs his or her ear and appears to be in pain .
- Your child’s ear pain increases even with treatment.
- Your child has a fever of 38.3Â°C or higher with other signs of ear infection.
- You suspect that your child’s eardrum has burst, or fluid that looks like pus or blood is draining from the ear.
- Your child has an object stuck in his or her ear.
- Your child with an ear infection continues to have symptoms after 48 hours of treatment with an antibiotic.
- Your child with an ear tube develops an earache or has drainage from his or her ear.
When Should I Call The Doctor
Very rarely, ear infections that don’t go away or severe repeated middle ear infections can lead to complications. So kids with an earache or a sense of fullness in the ear, especially when combined with fever, should be seen by their doctors if they aren’t getting better after a couple of days.
When To Visit Your Pediatrician Or Local Urgent Care
Ear pain often goes away on its own within 2-3 days. However, its important to watch for these signs and symptoms as they could be a sign of something more serious:
- Fluid draining from the ear
- High fever , headache, or dizziness
- Swelling behind the ear, especially if that side of the face feels weak or numb
- Severe pain that suddenly stops
- Symptoms persist or worsen
- Hearing loss
- Other symptoms that are severe or concerning
If your child is younger than 6 months and symptoms do not go away within 1-2 days, or if they have a fever, call your doctor or visit your local urgent care facility.
State Urgent Care offers safe, effective ear infection treatment for people of all ages, including infants and young children. We will examine your ears with special instruments that measure fluid buildup, test the movement of the eardrum, and prescribe the appropriate type and dose of medication to provide relief in a hurry.
We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week.
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Adenoids And/or Tonsil Removal
Adenoid removal or adenoid and tonsil removal may help some children who have repeat ear infections or fluid behind the eardrum. Children younger than 4 don’t usually have their adenoids taken out unless they have severe nasal blockage.
As a treatment for chronic ear infections, experts recommend removing adenoids and tonsils only after tubes and antibiotics have failed. Removing adenoids may improve air and fluid flow in nasal passages. This may reduce the chance of fluid collecting in the middle ear, which can lead to infection. When used along with other treatments, removing adenoids can help some children who have repeat ear infections. But taking out the tonsils with the adenoids isn’t very helpful.footnote 4 Tonsils are removed if they are frequently infected. Experts don’t recommend tonsil removal alone as a treatment for ear infections.footnote 5
When Do You Need Antibiotics
In its SIGN 88 guidelines for UK healthcare, the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network recommends antibiotic treatment for otherwise healthy women, under 65, who have three or more symptoms of UTI.
Potential symptoms of UTI are listed as follows: pain passing urine , frequency of urination, bladder pain, urgency, passing lots of urine , and passing blood in the urine .
The guidelines recommend using dipstick tests to guide treatment decisions in otherwise healthy women under 65 years of age presenting with mild or more than two symptoms of UTI, comments Ali. Put simply, if symptoms are severe, urine testing is not required before initiating treatment.
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What Causes An Ear Infection
Ear infections in the outer canal are caused by:
- Bacterial or fungal overgrowth in the ear canal that results from moisture mixing with the earwax and debris in the ear canal
- Moisture may enter the ear from swimming, diving, or even bathing and showering
Ear infections in the middle ear are caused by:
- Common bacterial causes of middle ear infections are Streptococcus pneumoniae , Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis
What Is An Outer Ear Infection
An outer ear infection is an infection of the outer opening of the ear and the ear canal, which connects the outside of the ear to the eardrum. This type of infection is medically known as otitis externa. One common type of otitis externa is referred to as swimmers ear.
This outer ear infection often results from exposure to moisture. Its common in children, teens, and adults who spend a lot of time swimming. Swimmers ear results in nearly
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Middle Ear Infections Treatment
For these types of ear infections, antibiotics are typically prescribed. Most antibiotics can be taken orally but others can be applied directly to the site of infection as ear drops. Over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used for pain management.
If the ear infection was caused by a cold or respiratory infection, the doctor may prescribe antihistamines, decongestants, or nasal steroids.
Who Is Most Likely To Get An Ear Infection
Middle ear infection is the most common childhood illness . Ear infections occur most often in children who are between age 3 months and 3 years, and are common until age 8. Some 25% of all children will have repeated ear infections.
Adults can get ear infections too, but they dont happen nearly as often as they do in children.
Risk factors for ear infections include:
- Age: Infants and young children are at greater risk for ear infections.
- Family history: The tendency to get ear infections can run in the family.
- Colds: Having colds often increases the chances of getting an ear infection.
- Allergies: Allergies cause inflammation of the nasal passages and upper respiratory tract, which can enlarge the adenoids. Enlarged adenoids can block the eustachian tube, preventing ear fluids from draining. This leads to fluid buildup in the middle ear, causing pressure, pain and possible infection.
- Chronic illnesses: People with chronic illnesses are more likely to develop ear infections, especially patients with immune deficiency and chronic respiratory disease, such as cystic fibrosis and asthma.
- Ethnicity: Native Americans and Hispanic children have more ear infections than other ethnic groups.
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What Are The Harms Of Fluid Buildup In Your Ears Or Repeated Or Ongoing Ear Infections
Most ear infections dont cause long-term problems, but when they do happen, complications can include:
- Loss of hearing: Some mild, temporary hearing loss usually occurs during an ear infection. Ongoing infections, infections that repeatedly occur, damage to internal structures in the ear from a buildup of fluid can cause more significant hearing loss.
- Delayed speech and language development: Children need to hear to learn language and develop speech. Muffled hearing for any length of time or loss of hearing can significantly delay or hamper development.
- Tear in the eardrum: A tear can develop in the eardrum from pressure from the long-lasting presence of fluid in the middle ear. About 5% to 10% of children with an ear infection develop a small tear in their eardrum. If the tear doesnt heal on its own, surgery may be needed. If you have drainage/discharge from your ear, do not place anything into your ear canal. Doing so can be dangerous if there is an accident with the item touching the ear drum.
- Spread of the infection: Infection that doesnt go away on its own, is untreated or is not fully resolved with treatment may spread beyond the ear. Infection can damage the nearby mastoid bone . On rare occasions, infection can spread to the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and cause meningitis.
Do: Put Drops Of Hydrogen Peroxide In Your Clogged Ear
Hydrogen peroxide can be used to dissolve earwax clogs, but it must be placed in your ear correctly. Hearing specialists recommend that you mix the solution with warm water making sure that the water is not too hot and then place a drop or two in your ear with a dropper. Your ear should be tilted upward while you place the drops in your ear and you should keep it that way for several seconds to let the hydrogen peroxide dissolve the earwax clog. You may have to repeat this a few times a day for a couple of days, but eventually, the clog should clear.
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Can Middle Ear Infections Be Prevented
It’s not possible to prevent middle ear infections, but there are some things you can do that may reduce your child’s risk of developing the condition. These include:
- make sure your child is up-to-date with their routine vaccinations particularly the pneumococcal vaccine and the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine
- avoid exposing your child to smoky environments
- don’t give your child a dummy once they’re older than six to 12 months old
- don’t feed your child while they’re lying flat on their back
- if possible, feed your baby with breast milk rather than formula milk
Avoiding contact with other children who are unwell may also help reduce your child’s chances of catching an infection that could lead to a middle ear infection.
How Long Does An Ear Infection Last
Different types of ear infections occur within the ear, relating to each of the ears three sections the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Each section of the ear has a unique function and form and the answer to how long does an ear infection last depends on which section of the ear is infected.
- Inner ear infections tend to last the longest, with symptoms often persisting for several months.
- Middle ear infections shouldnt last more than one or two days.
- Outer ear infections can last for a week or longer.
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Symptoms Of Ear Infection
Babies and small children might:
- pull or rub their ear
- have a high temperature
- have redness around the ear
- be restless or irritable
- not respond to noises that would normally attract their attention
See your doctor if:
- your child is in pain
- there is discharge from the child’s ear
- your child is unwell or vomiting
- your child can’t hear properly
- there is swelling behind the ear and the ear is being pushed forward
- your child keeps getting ear infections
Ear Infections And Kids Anatomy
Its their anatomy that makes them particularly susceptible.
Older children and adults have a more efficient system for clearing colds. The fluid that builds up in the ear during and after an upper respiratory illness drains down the Eustachian tube, the canal that links the ear to the nose and throat.
In children younger than age 7, the Eustachian tube is shorter and more horizontally positioned, so the fluid takes longer to drain. The build-up can press on the eardrum, causing pain that is especially noticeable to kids when they lay down, breastfeed or suck on a bottle.
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What You Should Not Do To Soothe A Cold Or Ear Infection:
- Do not give over-the-counter cold medicines to children under age 2. Consider avoiding them if the child is older, too.
- Do not tilt an infants crib mattress. Children under age 1 should sleep on a flat mattress with no pillows or blankets.
- Do not allow a child to drink while lying down, as it can increase the chances of getting an ear infection.
- Do not smoke. Families and caregivers who smoke increase a childs chance of getting colds and ear infections.
Because young children get more colds in the winter, they may also develop more ear infections. Five out of six children will experience at least one ear infection by the time they are 3 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Can Ear Infections Just Go Away
Most of the time, otitis media clears up all by itself. But it has to be watched very carefully. That’s because otitis media is caused by fluid that builds up in a child’s middle ear. That fluid gives germs — bacteria — a chance to grow in a dangerous place.
Standard treatment in the U.S. is to give children antibiotic treatment right away. It almost always seems to work, because kids’ ears clear up. But this often happens without treatment too. In fact, two-thirds of the kids in the Pediatrics study got better without antibiotics.
Doctors and parents worry about simple earaches becoming more serious infections. That’s why so many prefer early treatment. There is, however, a downside. Sixty percent of childhood antibiotic prescriptions are for otitis media. Such massive antibiotic use is leading to a germ counterattack. The bad bugs are becoming resistant to antibiotics. This means that in the future, effective treatment is going to be more difficult, and more expensive.
Can doctors really cut back on antibiotic treatment for otitis media? The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians have already taken a first step. Last year, they published treatment guidelines giving doctors the option of watching and waiting for nonsevere cases of otitis media — only mild ear pain and no high fever — in kids 2 years of age and older.
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Why Do Kids Get Ear Infections
Kids get ear infections more than adults do for several reasons:
- Their shorter, more horizontal eustachian tubes let bacteria and viruses find their way into the middle ear more easily. The tubes are also narrower, so more likely to get blocked.
- Their adenoids, gland-like structures at the back of the throat, are larger and can interfere with the opening of the eustachian tubes.
Other things that can put kids at risk include secondhand smoke, bottle-feeding, and being around other kids in childcare. Ear infections are more common in boys than girls.
Ear infections are not contagious, but the colds that sometimes cause them can be. Infections are common during winter weather, when many people get upper respiratory tract infections or colds .
Healing Time In Different Sections Of The Ear
The infections persist in the middle, the outer and inner part of the ear. Every part has its unique features. As a result healing time also depends on the section of the ear.
- Outer Causes of outer ear infection are different from a middle ear infection. The most common type of infection in the outer ear is bacterial infections. But fungal and viral infections can occur as well. It can last for a week or longer. Its symptoms are severe pain in the ear, purulent discharge, fever, etc.
- Middle The infection shouldnt last more than one or two days. After an ear infection clears up, fluid may remain in the middle ear and cause some of the more mild symptoms and can persist for several weeks to months. This condition is diagnosed as otitis media with effusion. Its symptoms are ear pain, feeling like your ear is clogged, Nausea, Reduced Hearing.
- Inner The infection exists for a long time in this section. Most commonly, viral is the reason for the inner ear infection. These viruses can be most of the flu and cold. Its symptoms are pain, fever, and reduced hearing. Nausea and tinnitus can also occur in an inner ear infection.
The Eustachian tube drains fluid and air from the middle ear. Blockage in the Eustachian tube may cause fluid to build up. This causes pain since it applies pressure on the eardrum. The fluid is also a fertile ground for bacteria growth and this leads to an ear infection.
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Symptoms Of Inner Ear Infection
Since the inner ear plays key roles in both hearing and balance, any issues with these senses could be linked to an infection in this area. Infections in other parts of the ear are less likely to affect your hearing or balance, but the other symptoms can be similar.
Possible signs of an inner ear infection or inflammation include:
- Vertigo, a sensation that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving around even when everything is still
- Having trouble balancing or walking normally
- Fluid or pus coming from your ear
Inner ear infections can also be linked to other symptoms, depending on the source of the infection. For example, if the infection spread to the inner ear from your airways, you might also have a runny nose. In some cases, these other symptoms might be fading when the problems in your inner ear begin, because the original infection might have been eliminated. You could also have more generalised symptoms of infection, such as a fever.
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