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Do Ear Drops Help With Ear Infections

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Who Should Use Antibiotic Eardrops

Hydrogen Peroxide Ear Drops – Cleaning Ear Infections and Ear Wax

Antibiotic eardrops can be more effective and safer for:

  • People with Swimmers Ear, an infection caused by water in the ear.
  • Children who have tubes in their ears. The tubes prevent most infections behind the eardruman area known as the middle ear. If there is an infection, antibiotic eardrops can be given right through the tube.

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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.

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What Is My Doctor Looking For

Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms youâve had. Be sure to come to the office with any notes you might need and questions on your mind.

She will look at the eardrum with an instrument called an otoscope for signs of infection. This is a tough task with a fussy infant, so be ready to help calm the little one if itâs your child with the earache.

Signs of infection include a red eardrum or a bulging eardrum with fluid behind it. The fluid may be thin like during a cold, or thick like pus. It is located in the middle ear, just behind the ear drum. Otitis media means inflammation of the middle ear. A puffer attached to the otoscope blows air to see if your thin eardrum moves. With fluid in the middle ear, the eardrum is more rigid and doesn’t move back and forth.

She might also look for signs of infection with another instrument. Itâs called a tympanometer, and it uses sound and air pressure to check for fluid in the middle ear.

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Types Of Ear Infections

The most common type of ear infection is called acute otitis media .

AOM infections

AOM is more common in children because they have smaller eustachian tubes. Located between the middle ear and upper throat, these tubes are responsible for fluid drainage.

If this fluid doesnt drain, a buildup and infection may occur. Fluid trapped in the middle ear behind your eardrum may also cause:

Other common infections

Other common types of ear infections include:

When To Contact A Medical Professional


Contact your provider if:

  • You have swelling behind the ear.
  • Your symptoms get worse, even with treatment.
  • You have high fever or severe pain.
  • Severe pain suddenly stops, which may indicate a ruptured eardrum.
  • New symptoms appear, especially severe headache, dizziness, swelling around the ear, or twitching of the face muscles.

Let the provider know right away if a child younger than 6 months has a fever, even if the child doesn’t have other symptoms.

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How Do I Choose The Best Earache Medicine

You can choose the best earache medicine by first seeing your doctor to determine the cause of your earache. The type of medicine you use for treatment will likely depend on the reason behind your ear pain. If your earache is the result of an ear infection, your doctor will probably recommend treatment with popular over-the-counter pain relievers and might additionally prescribe antibiotics to help get rid of the infection. Swimmers ear is also frequently treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and antibiotics. There are also some home remedies you can use in place of, or in addition to, earache medicine to help you get some relief from your ear pain.

Some of the best earache medicine you can use is in the form of over-the-counter pain relievers containing either ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These medicines come in both liquid and pill form, and they are usually effective for eliminating ear pain temporarily. In general, ibuprofen is slightly stronger than acetaminophen, and you may have more luck with ibuprofen for dealing with incredibly severe ear pain. Acetaminophen is typically useful for treating minor ear pain, and it can usually be taken more often throughout the day than ibuprofen, although you should always follow the specific directions on dosage for the medicine you are using.

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How Is Swimmer’s Ear Treated

How doctors treat swimmer’s ear depends on how severe the pain and infection are. For most outer ear infections, they prescribe ear drops containing antibiotics possibly mixed with medicine to help ease swelling. These will fight the infection and help with pain. Ear drops typically are used several times a day for 710 days.

If swelling narrows the opening into the ear, the doctor may clean the ear and insert a sponge called a wick into the ear canal. It will carry ear drops into the ear more effectively. If you have a severe infection, you might also get antibiotic liquid or pills to swallow. Your doctor may send some of the fluid draining from your ear to a lab to find out which germ is causing the infection.

How Do Antibiotics Work To Treat Ear Infections

Antibiotic Ear Drops – When and How to Use Ear Drops Properly

Ear infections occur when fluid becomes trapped behind the eardrum, causing pain and inflammation. When this fluid becomes infected with bacteria, the best course of treatment is typically antibiotics. However, its worth noting that antibiotics arent the appropriate treatment for every type of ear infection. Below is an overview of common types of ear infections, when antibiotics are used and what type may be prescribed.

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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.

Evidence Of An Inflammation

Still, it was found that prescription-only ear drops seemed to effectively relieve the symptoms of outer ear infections. Some studies also looked at combinations of different types of drugs, but none of the treatments were found to be better or worse than others.

Theres no that over-the-counter disinfectant ear drops are as effective as ear drops containing or steroids.

Doctors can help people decide which prescription ear drops are most suitable.

All ear drops can also have side effects such as burning sensations or rashes. But side effects are unlikely if you use the ear drops properly. If you arent sure how to use them, you can consult the package insert or ask your doctor.

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How To Take Oral Antibiotics

Its important to always take your antibiotics as prescribed. It may be tempting to combine the doses, but they will not be as effective and could lead to adverse side effects, such as stomach upset.

Even if you begin to feel better, you should continue to take the antibiotics until you finish your medication to prevent the infection from returning. You should avoid alcohol while taking antibiotics.

While antibiotics are good for clearing a bacterial infection, they can also rid the body of helpful “good” bacteria at the same time. Because of this, you may want to consider taking a probiotic supplement while you are on antibiotics.

Probiotics are living organisms that can help to prevent the imbalance of bacteria within your gut that often comes from taking antibiotics. Studies have shown that taking probiotics while taking antibiotics can lower the chances of side effects from a bacterial imbalance, such as gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea.

Two Home Remedies For Earaches

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1. Oils

Be it garlic, tea tree or olive people swear by putting oil in the ear to help with ear infections. While garlic does have antibacterial properties, Dr. Nguyen-Huynh urges caution. If youre using it for a middle ear infection, it wont get to the source of the problem. And even if you do have a hole in your eardrum, there arent studies showing its safe to put garlic in there.

2. OTC numbing drops

Dr. Nguyen-Huynh recommends avoiding numbing drops. The effect is very brief, and sometimes it does the opposite and stings the ear.

3. Try sleeping with your head in an elevated position.

4. Take a mild pain reliever such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.

5. Aspirin should not be given to children under 16, unless on the advice of a doctor.

6. Apply a warm or a cold flannel to the side of your head, see which feels best for you.

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What Causes Middle Ear Infections

Most middle ear infections occur when an infection such as a cold, leads to a build-up of mucus in the middle ear and causes the Eustachian tube to become swollen or blocked.

This mean mucus can’t drain away properly, making it easier for an infection to spread into the middle ear.

An enlarged adenoid can also block the Eustachian tube. The adenoid can be removed if it causes persistent or frequent ear infections. Read more about removing adenoids.

Younger children are particularly vulnerable to middle ear infections as:

  • the Eustachian tube is smaller in children than in adults
  • a child’s adenoids are relatively much larger than an adults

Certain conditions can also increase the risk of middle ear infections, including:

  • having a cleft palate a type of birth defect where a child has a split in the roof of their mouth
  • having Down’s syndrome a genetic condition that typically causes some level of learning disability and a characteristic range of physical features

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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Types Of Ear Infection

The most common type of ear infection is called acute otitis media . Symptoms include earache, drainage and fever. AOM is especially common in children because their Eustachian tubes, which equalize pressure and allow fluid to drain, are much shorter and more horizontal than adults.

Other common types of ear infection include:

  • Otitis media with effusion , which means the infection has passed but fluid remains in the middle ear.
  • Chronic otitis media with effusion , which entails fluid becoming built-up on a recurring basis but without bacteria this long-term condition can lead to hearing loss, especially in children.
  • Swimmers ear , which happens when water becomes trapped in the ear canal and becomes infected.

How Can I Prevent My Child From Getting An Ear Infection

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  • Wash your childs hands and your own often to keep germs away.
  • If possible, breastfeed your baby.
  • Avoid bottle-feeding your baby when they are lying down. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle.
  • Transition your baby from a bottle to a cup by 1 year of age.
  • Dont smoke, and keep your child away from any second-hand smoke. Exposure to smoke can increase the risk of ear infections.
  • Ensure your child gets the pneumococcal vaccine .
  • Ensure your child gets a flu shot every year.
  • If your child has had many ear infections, try reducing the use of pacifiers . Using a pacifier may increase the risk of repeated ear infections.

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Tips To Prevent Swimmers Ear:

  • After showering, hair washing or swimming, help the water run out of the ear by having your child tilt her head to one side.
  • Hold a hair dryer, set on low, at arms length away from the ear to dry it.
  • Dont use cotton swabs to clean the ear as this can pack the earwax and cause water to get trapped behind it.

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What Are The Medicines Used For Treating Ear Infection

Doctors prescribe medicines that contain Antipyrine and Benzocaine otic to get relief from the ear pain and swelling that occur due to middle ear infections. These medicines are used along with antibiotics to treat ear infections.

Antipyrine and Benzocaine are analgesics. Analgesics are medicines that reduce pain, relieve out a fever and sometimes decrease inflammation.

The ear drops that relieve out the ear pain contain these analgesics. Although it can relieve the earache by treating the infections, it should be used only three times a day. Each dose should be in a gap of every 1 to 2 hours.

Some of the common ear drops that are prescribed by ENT doctors after the diagnosis of ear infections are-

In addition to the above-mentioned ear drops, there are other ear drops that doctors prescribe after diagnosing a patient with an ear infection. Some of them are-

  • Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections inside the ear.
  • Acid-based detergents to break up excess earwax.
  • Anesthetics can help in curing excessive ear pain.

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Ear Drops Over The Counter

In the initial stages of ear infections, one can use ear drops over the counter to decrease pain, swelling and to control the infection.

In the initial stages of ear infections, one can use ear drops over the counter to decrease pain, swelling and to control the infection.

Ear aches and infections are common among kids and regular swimmers. Usually, use of OTC ear drops is the first line of treatment to relieve ear discomfort. As ear infections occur as a consequence of bacterial invasion, use of antibiotics is an age-old remedy to destroy the bacteria. Antibiotic ear drops ensure that the bacterial infection remains localized and does not spread deep into the ear.

Antibiotic Ear Drops Over the Counter

Swim Ear: Initial treatment for ear infection pain can begin with swim ear drops. These ear drops can help to unclog the ear and kill the germs. These antiseptic ear drops are commonly recommended to treat ear infections.

Auro Dri: Water entering inside the ear during swimming is many times responsible for causing bacterial growth. Bacteria thrive in moist environment and so drying the ear is essential to manage and get rid of this infection. Auro ear drops suck the water trapped inside the ear, thus making it dry. The dryness in ear stops bacteria from spreading as well as helps to kill the microbes.

Numbing Ear Drops Over the CounterHow to UseCaution

Why Do Children Get Many More Ear Infections Than Adults Will My Child Always Get Ear Infections

Ear Drops

Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections for these reasons:

  • The eustachian tubes in young children are shorter and more horizontal. This shape encourages fluid to gather behind the eardrum.
  • The immune system of children, which in the bodys infection-fighting system, is still developing.
  • The adenoids in children are relatively larger than they are in adults. The adenoids are the small pads of tissue above the throat and behind the nose and near the eustachian tubes. As they swell to fight infection, they may block the normal ear drainage from the eustachian tube into the throat. This blockage of fluid can lead to a middle ear infection.

Most children stop getting ear infections by age 8.

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How Should I Use Ciprodex Ear Drops

Take Ciprodex exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.

Do not take by mouth. Ciprodex is for use only in the ears.

Shake the medicine well just before each use.

You may warm Ciprodex ear drops before use by holding the bottle in your hand for 1 or 2 minutes. Using cold ear drops can cause dizziness, especially in a child who has ear tubes in place.

Wash your hands before using ear drops.

To use the Ciprodex ear drops:

  • Lie down or tilt your head with your ear facing upward. Open the ear canal by gently pulling your ear back, or pulling downward on the earlobe when giving this medicine to a child.

  • Hold the dropper upside down over your ear and drop the correct number of drops into the ear.

  • Stay lying down or with your head tilted for at least 2 minutes. You may use a small piece of cotton to plug the ear and keep the medicine from draining out.

  • Do not touch the dropper tip or place it directly in your ear. It may become contaminated. Wipe the tip with a clean tissue but do not wash with water or soap.

Use Ciprodex for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics.

Store Ciprodex ear drops at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Do not freeze. Throw away any unused medicine after your treatment is finished.

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