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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Do You Need Antibiotics
Your physician may recommend a watch-and-see approach rather than prescribing antibiotics right away. Typically, you will keep an eye on symptoms for three days to see if they improve. This approach usually is used for children whose ear infections cannot be definitively diagnosed or who are under the age of 2.
If the infection does not clear up, you will need antibiotics. In some cases, a doctor will write you a prescription just in case the infection does not clear up.
If the ear infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not be prescribed because they do not work against viruses. Relieving symptoms while keeping an eye on the progression of the infection is the best course of treatment for a viral ear infection.
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.
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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
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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Tips For Using Ear Drops Correctly
The following instructions can help you put ear drops in your ears. If youre having trouble putting them into your own ears, ask someone to help you.
- Warm the ear drop bottle in your hands. Any ear drops that are cold can cause dizziness when placed in the ear canal.
- Lie down with your affected ear facing up.
- Gently pull your ear back to help straighten the ear canal.
- Hold the dropper over the ear and squeeze out recommended drops .
- Massage the tragus . This will close and open the ear canal and force the drops down the ear canal.
- Continue to lie on your side for a couple minutes to allow the drops to reach the eardrum at the base of the ear canal.
- Sit up and let any excess drops drain out.
- Repeat in the other ear, if needed.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of An Inner Ear Infection
Ear infections can happen anywhere in your outer, middle or inner ear. The symptoms can be very different depending on where the problem is located. If the infection is in your inner ear then it can have a particularly dramatic effect on your senses of balance and hearing. Read on to learn more about inner ear infections and how they can affect you.
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Who Is At Higher Risk For Ear Infections
- Children less than 5 years old, because they have shorter eustachian tubes.
- Children who attend daycare, because they tend to have more colds.
- Children with allergies.
- Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke. Smoke causes inflammation of the eustachian tube, making ear infections more likely.
- Children who were not breastfed. Breast milk has antibodies that help fight infections.
- Babies who are being bottle fed, especially if they swallow milk while lying too flat. Milk can enter the eustachian tube and cause inflammation, which increases the risk of an ear infection. Children should be held upright while drinking a bottle. When they are old enough to hold their own bottle well, they should be taught to drink from a regular cup and no longer given a bottle.
- Children with cleft palates, as their eustachian tubes are often inflamed.
- Children of First Nations and Inuit descent, though its not clear why.
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Acute Otitis Media And Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media
Prior to administration of ofloxacin otic solution, the solution should be warmed by holding the bottle in the hand for one or two minutes to avoid dizziness which may result from the instillation of a cold solution. The patient should lie with the affected ear upward, and then the drops should be instilled. The tragus should then be pumped 4 times by pushing inward to facilitate penetration of the drops into the middle ear. This position should be maintained for five minutes. Repeat, if necessary, for the opposite ear .
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When Should I See A Specialist To Treat Swimmer’s Ear
If your ear infection has not gone away 10 to 14 days after treatment with antibiotic eardrops, you have lost your hearing, you see pus or other yellow/green matter oozing from your ear, or experience a worsening of any of the symptoms of swimmer’s ear, you should be seen by an ear specialist .
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/29/2019.
Who Should Take Oral Antibiotics For Ear Infections
- Children without ear tubes should take oral antibiotics for middle-ear infections, especially when they have severe ear pain or high fever.
- Children with ear tubes should take oral antibiotics if:
- They are very ill.
- They have another reason to be on an antibiotic.
- The infection doesnt go away with eardrops.
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Southern Cross Medical Library
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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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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How Is Sudden Hearing Loss Treated
There are many treatments for SSNHL. Treatment is most successful the earlier it is given. Treatment can include oral steroids or steroids injected directly into the ear . If the first treatments do not work, your otolaryngologist should discuss âsalvage therapy.â The benefits of treatment may include more quick and complete recovery of hearing, but there are also side effects of steroids that must be considered when choosing from the available options. Side effects of steroids may include sleep problems, anxiety, depression, or mood swings, increased appetite with possible weight gain, dizziness, jitteriness, high blood sugar, and/or high blood pressure. With intratympanic steroids risks include pain, dizziness, residual hole in the ear drum, and infection. In head-to-head comparisons, intratympanic injection of steroids causes much fewer side effects than oral steroids.
Watchful waiting may be recommended. This is because half of patients may get back hearing on their ownâthese are usually patients with mild to moderate degrees of hearing loss, but healthcare providers do not currently have a way to predict who will get better without treatment.
What Are The Different Types Of Ear Infection
Fluid formation in the middle ear usually leads to an ear infection but infection can also be in the outer and inner ear. Few of the main types of ear infection can be outlined as:
1. Outer Ear Infections
One of the most common types of ear infection is swimmers ear. In these cases, the outer covering of the ear canal suffers from a bacterial infection caused by excessive immersion in water, like during swimming, or by external damage caused by swabs, etc.
2. Middle Ear Infections
The common cold is another culprit which causes ear infections. Due to the flu virus, the middle ear, or the hollow cavity in the ear gets filled with pus and causes discomfort and pain. The middle ear infections tend to get cured on their own as the cold gets better, though some home remedies can be applied to ease the symptoms.
3. Inner Ear Infections
The riskiest of all ear infections are inner ear infections. As the inner ear helps in keeping our balance, an infection there affects our balance causing vertigo and a ringing sensation in the ears. Inner ear infections are more common in adults than in kids and can also be assuaged at home, though in certain cases it is advised that proper medical care is taken.
Now that we know why and how ear infections arise, it is time we look at ways to cure the same. Ear infections can be cured using various oils, food items, exercises, etc. which we will be discussing next.
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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 .
How To Use Ear Drops
Prior to using ear drops, you should always read the instructions provided to you with your prescription. You can also speak to your pharmacist or doctor for advice on using them. The following instructions will help you use ear drops correctly.
- Lie down on a flat surface with a folded towel beneath your head and the affected ear facing the ceiling.
- Pull your earlobe up to straighten out the ear canal.
- Administer the appropriate number of drops into the ear.
- Push the ear flap gently to help ease the drops into the ear.
- Remain in this position for up to two minutes to ensure that the ear canal is fully coated with medicine.
- Have the child lie on the floor or bed with a towel beneath their head and their affected ear facing the ceiling.
- Hold their head still if they are squirming or fidgeting.
- Pull the earlobe out and down to straighten their ear canal..
- Administer the recommended number of drops
- Press on their ear flap or place a cotton ball gently into the ear and let it remain in position for several minutes to ensure that the medication coats the inside of their ear.
The process for infants is similar to children, but you can also cradle your infant while you administer the drops in an appropriate position that allows the medication to go into their ear properly.
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Acute Otitis Media In Pediatric Patients With Tympanostomy Tubes
The recommended dosage regimen for the treatment of acute otitis media in pediatric patients with tympanostomy tubes is:
Five drops instilled into the affected ear twice daily for ten days. The solution should be warmed by holding the bottle in the hand for one or two minutes to avoid dizziness that may result from the instillation of a cold solution. The patient should lie with the affected ear upward, and then the drops should be instilled. The tragus should then be pumped 4 times by pushing inward to facilitate penetration of the drops into the middle ear. This position should be maintained for five minutes. Repeat, if necessary, for the opposite ear.
Indications And Usage For Ofloxacin Ear Drops
Ofloxacin otic solution, 0.3% is indicated for the treatment of infections caused by susceptible isolates of the designated microorganisms in the specific conditions listed below:
Otitis Externa in adults and pediatric patients, 6 months and older, due to Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus.
Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media in patients 12 years and older with perforated tympanic membranes due to Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus.
Acute Otitis Media in pediatric patients one year and older with tympanostomy tubes due to Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae.
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Diagnosis Of Ear Infections
Your physician will look into your ear with an otoscope, a medical instrument with a light on one end designed to get a better view inside the ear. Your doctor will look for the visual signs of ear infection, such as redness and inflammation.
To check for fluid buildup, a pneumatic otoscope, which blows air at the eardrum, will be used. If there is excessive fluid behind the eardrum, it will not move as it should when the air hits it.
In some cases, hearing tests may also be performed to assess any damage to the ear from the infection.
Different types of ear infections present with different symptoms, which can include:
- Inner ear infections: Hearing loss, ringing in the ears , dizziness, loss of balance, nausea and vomiting, and ear pain
- Middle ear infections: Fluid in the ear, ear pain, fever, a feeling of general illness, pressure in the ears, and hearing loss
- Outer ear infections: Inflammation of the ear canal, itching in the ear, ear pain, swelling of the ear canal, redness, and fluid draining from the ear
Ear Infection Doctor Discussion Guide
Children with ear infections, especially toddlers or infants, may not be able to describe their symptoms, but an ear infection will often present with the following signs:
- Tugging or pulling at their ears
- Fussing or crying
- Being clumsy and having balance issues
- Trouble hearing or responding to quiet noises
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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