Sunday, July 7, 2024

Ear Infection Do I Need To See A Doctor

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Fluid Buildup And Hearing Problems

How do Kids get Ear Infections?

Fluid behind the eardrum after an ear infection is normal. And in most children, the fluid clears up within 3 months without treatment. If your child has fluid buildup without infection, you may try watchful waiting.

Have your childâs hearing tested if the fluid lasts longer than 3 months. If hearing is normal, you may choose to keep watching your child without treatment.

If a child has fluid behind the eardrum for more than 3 months and has significant hearing problems, then treatment is needed. Sometimes short-term hearing loss occurs, which is especially a concern in children ages 2 and younger. Normal hearing is very important when young children are learning to talk.

If your child is younger than 2, your doctor may not wait 3 months to start treatment. Hearing problems at this age could affect your childâs speaking ability. This is also why children in this age group are closely watched when they have ear infections.

If there is a hearing problem, your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to keep the fluid in the ear from getting infected. The doctor might also suggest placing tubes in the ears to drain the fluid and improve hearing.

Can A Doctor Tell If You Have Fluid In Your Ear

In this way, what causes fluid in the inner ear in adults?


What are the symptoms of fluid in the ear?

In general, symptoms of fluid in the ears may include:

  • Hearing loss or the sensation that sounds are muffled.
  • A feeling of fullness in the ears.
  • Loss of balance or vertigo

What causes you to get fluid behind your ear?


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Management And Treatment Options

  • Often, we will recommend antibiotics to treat the ear infection but not always! This will depend on the appearance of the eardrums, the presence of fevers, the age of the child, and the length of time the symptoms have been occurring. Your pediatrician will carefully weigh these factors when deciding how to treat the infection.
  • If antibiotics are required, I recommend giving yogurt and/or probiotics to help prevent or reduce the side effects of diarrhea.
  • If your little one seems in pain, I recommend giving either Ibuprofen or Tylenol. You should always dose the medicine based on the weight of the child and follow dosing guidelines listed on the package.

Occasionally, an antibiotic may not clear up the infection completely. This can happen if the bacteria is resistant to certain antibiotics. In this case, we will switch up the antibiotics and treat with one that should cover for the resistance. If your child is having a significant number of ear infections in a short period of time, we will often refer your child to an ear, nose and throat specialist to be evaluated for ear tubes.

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When Should I Call The Doctor

Very rarely, ear infections that dont 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 arent getting better after a couple of days.

Other things can cause earaches, such as teething, a foreign object in the ear, or hard earwax. Your doctor can find the cause of your childs discomfort and treat it.

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How Are Ear Infections Treated

The Dos and Don

Most ear infections go away on their own. You can treat them at home with an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen , a warm face cloth on the ear, and rest. Your doctor may give you eardrops that can help with pain.

Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics are recommended for children under 6 months old and for children at high risk for complications. But ear infections often get better without them. Talk with your doctor. Whether you use antibiotics will depend on how bad the infection is. For children, it also will depend on the child’s age.

Children may need a follow-up visit in about 4 weeks, even if they feel well. Adults may need one if symptoms get worse.

Minor surgery to put tubes in the ears may help for repeat infections or hearing problems.

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What Types Of Ear Infections Are There

There are 3 main types of ear infections that commonly occur.

  • Outer Ear Infection . Also known as swimmers ear as it often results due to water remaining in the ear after swimming or bathing. If water does not drain properly, it can result in bacteria or fungal growth, leading to an infection of the outer ear canal if the canal is scratched or cut. The symptoms for this include pain, swelling, redness of the ear canal, itchiness of the canal, or muffled hearing.
  • Middle Ear Infection . If fluid builds up and gets trapped behind the eardrum, it can cause your eardrum to bulge with swelling in the middle ear preventing the fluid from draining properly. This leads to symptoms of pain , fullness in the ear, decreased ability to hear, and some fluid drainage. In severe cases, symptoms may include fever, vomiting, weight fluctuations, and poor feeding in children. It can be caused by the common cold, sinus infections, or allergies.
  • Inner Ear Infection . The labyrinth is responsible for balance and hearing and can become swollen and inflamed, causing an inner ear infection. Symptoms may include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of balance, hearing loss, earache, and vertigo. Sometimes an inner ear infection can be caused by a virus or bacteria, and if not treated promptly can lead to damage to the vestibular system .
  • Fluid Buildup And Surgery

    Doctors may consider surgery for children who have repeat ear infections or who keep getting fluid behind the eardrum. Procedures include inserting ear tubes or removing adenoids and, in rare cases, the tonsils.

    Fluid behind the eardrum after an ear infection is normal. And, in most children, the fluid clears up within 3 months without treatment. If your child has fluid buildup without infection, you may try watchful waiting.

    Have your child’s hearing tested if the fluid lasts longer than 3 months. If hearing is normal, you may choose to keep watching your child without treatment.

    If a child has fluid behind the eardrum for more than 3 months and has significant hearing problems, then treatment is needed. Sometimes short-term hearing loss occurs. This is especially a concern in children ages 2 and younger. Normal hearing is very important when young children are learning to talk.

    If your child is younger than 2, your doctor may not wait 3 months to start treatment. Hearing problems at this age could affect how well your child can speak. This is also why children in this age group are closely watched when they have ear infections.

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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 .

    Symptoms Of Middle Ear Infections

    931 – Outer & Middle Ear Infection

    Infection can cause:

    • Earache mild to severe pain in the ear or face or pulling at the ear and irritability in an infant
    • Fever a high temperature might be the only symptom in babies or young children
    • Mild deafness caused by fluid which builds up from the infection
    • Ear discharge this happens when the eardrum bursts because of pressure behind it.

    Children usually recover from mild infections in three to five hours, although your child may feel tired afterwards.

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    How Do Cotton Swabs Cause Outer Ear Infections

    Dr. Wang: Earwax is a natural way for your body to trap and slow the growth of bacteria that may have entered your ear. When you apply cotton swabs, you often wind up pushing earwax further into the ear canal. This impacted wax can then trap water or moisture deep in the canal, setting you up for an infection.

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    Reasons To See An Infectious Disease Doctor

    Your primary care physician may refer you to an infectious disease specialist due to:

    Diagnosis Difficulties

    Many infectious diseases have similar symptoms. Infectious disease doctors are trained to perform and read tests that can identify the cause of an illness more precisely.

    Specialized Treatment and Recovery

    Infectious disease doctors have the expertise to treat people with an antibiotic-resistant infection â an increasingly common issue that can complicate recovery.

    High or Unexplained Fever

    A high fever can predict a serious infection. A high and ongoing fever could also indicate an infection related to a weakened immune system that needs special treatment.

    Chronic Infectious Diseases

    Infectious disease specialists provide long-term care to people with diseases that are lifelong or last for more than one year. Chronic infectious diseases can be deadly or limit daily life without ongoing care.

    The most common chronic infectious diseases include:

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    What Do Ent Specialists Do

    These are medical professionals who diagnose and treat patients that have health issues relating to the ears, nose, and throat. This can include any of the following:

    • Nose conditions that cause difficulties with smell, breathing, and the physical appearance of the nose. This includes sinus issues and issues with the nasal cavity.
    • Throat conditions that affect speech, eating, swallowing, singing, or digestion.
    • Health conditions related to your head or neck. This can be anything from trauma, deformities, diseases, tumors, or managing problems with the nerves in the head and neck that impact hearing, smell, sight, and facial movements.
    • Ear conditions like hearing impairment, balance disorders, ear pain, ringing in the ear , ear infections, and congenital ear defects.

    When it comes to the ear specifically, you may seek out an ENT doctor if youve sustained an injury to the ear, have pain in the ear, have frequent ear infections, hearing impairments, have tinnitus, or develop growths in the ear.

    Treating Middle Ear Infections

    Sore Ears Off Earrings

    You may be prescribed antibiotics. Some antibiotics may be taken orally. Others can be applied directly to the site of the infection with ear drops. Medications for pain, such as over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications may also be used to manage your symptoms.

    If youre still experiencing cold or allergy symptoms, you may be advised to take a , nasal steroids, or an antihistamine.

    Another helpful technique is called autoinsufflation. Its meant to help clear your eustachian tubes. You do this by squeezing your nose, closing your mouth, and gently exhaling. This can send air through the eustachian tubes to help drain them.

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    Head Injury Or Trauma

    More severe injuries or traumas to the head may cause bleeding from the ears. These types of injuries are often due to an accident, a fall, or a sports injury.

    In cases when bleeding from the ears accompanies a head injury, the person may have a concussion.

    Symptoms of a concussion can include:

    Symptoms of barotrauma start nearly immediately after a rapid change in altitude or pressure.

    What Services Does An Ent Doctor Provide For The Ear

    Ear infections and diseases are unbearable in many cases because the patients experience intense pain and discomfort. The best solution is to go to ENT doctors who specialize in treating these conditions and diseases of ear, nose, throat, and more. Their primary areas of focus are the head and neck, and they often perform surgeries.

    An ENT doctor will diagnose ear infections and diseases that you or any other patient might have. Notably, identifying the symptoms play a vital role in the detection and diagnosis of ear infections. Learning more about them can help you get the best treatment plans from your ENT doctors. Your general doctor may refer you to the best otolaryngologist/ENT doctor for your health conditions.

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    What Are The Treatment Options

    During an examination, your ENT specialist will use an otoscope to look inside and assess your ear. They check for redness in the ear, and/or fluid behind the eardrum, and to see if the eardrum moves. These are the signs of an ear infection. If your hearing is decreased, your ENT specialist may also perform an audiogram to test for any potential hearing loss by presenting tones at various pitches, or a tympanogram, which measures the air pressure in your middle ear to see how well your eustachian tube is working.

    Your ENT specialist may also prescribe medications, which must be taken as directed. Often, antibiotics to fight the infection will make your earache go away rapidly, but the infection may need more time to clear up. Other medications that your doctor may prescribe include an antihistamine , a decongestant , or both. Sometimes the doctor may recommend a medication to reduce fever and/or pain. Special ear drops can also help ease the pain.

    Children who experience multiple episodes of acute otitis media within a short time, chronic otitis media that lasts for more than three months, and/or hearing loss may require the insertion of ventilation tubes, also called pressure-equalization tubes. This is a short surgical procedure in which a small incision is made in the eardrum, any fluid is suctioned out, and a tube is placed in the eardrum. This tube will eventually fall out on its own, and the eardrum heals.

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    Sinus Infection Treatment At Home

    Ear Infections: Best Ways to Treat at Home and Prevent that Earache

    It isnt possible for you to tell at home if sinusitis is caused by a bacteria, virus or fungus, but there are some steps you can take to help relieve sinus infections symptoms. They include:

    • Moisturizing the room air with a humidifier or vaporizer

    • Increasing your fluid intake to ensure you are well hydrated

    • Using saline sprays or nasal irrigations

    • Using nasal spray decongestants for 2 or 3 days at the most

    • Applying warm compresses to your face to help relieve pain and pressure

    • Sleeping with your head elevated. If sleeping on a pile of pillows isnt comfortable, place blocks under the two legs at the head of your bed to elevate it.

    • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen

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    What Happens If My Child Keeps Getting Ear Infections

    To keep a middle ear infection from coming back, it helps to limit some of the factors that might put your child at risk, such as not being around people who smoke and not going to bed with a bottle. In spite of these precautions, some children may continue to have middle ear infections, sometimes as many as five or six a year. Your doctor may want to wait for several months to see if things get better on their own but, if the infections keep coming back and antibiotics arent helping, many doctors will recommend a surgical procedure that places a small ventilation tube in the eardrum to improve air flow and prevent fluid backup in the middle ear. The most commonly used tubes stay in place for six to nine months and require follow-up visits until they fall out.

    If placement of the tubes still doesnt prevent infections, a doctor may consider removing the adenoids to prevent infection from spreading to the eustachian tubes.

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    You Experience Added Symptoms

    If you experience any of these symptoms with your ear infection, youll want to visit a doctor as soon as you can.

    • Its hard to move parts of your face like normal
    • Swelling under or behind the ear
    • Knots forming around the ear
    • Discharge draining from the ear

    These symptoms may mean your ear infection is much worse than normal cases. If your child has any of these symptoms, its even more important to get them to a doctor quickly.

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    Other Remedies For Symptom Relief

    Staying hydrated can help thin mucus to ease congestion.

    Drinking hot liquids such as tea and broth may help relieve your symptoms. Breathing in moist air may also help relieve the discomfort that comes with nasal congestion. Try breathing in steam from the shower, a bowl of hot water, or a mug of tea.

    If your voice is hoarse, rest it by avoiding yelling, whispering, and singing.

    Placing a warm compress over the inflamed area can help reduce pressure and provide relief.

    damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.

    If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask a doctor if you need help or are interested in quitting. Quitting may help prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.

    Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu seasons, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.

    Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months may also help prevent sinus infections.

    Talk with a doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies to relieve your sinus infection.

    You may need to seek an allergy specialist to determine the cause of the allergy. The specialist may suggest:

    • avoiding the allergen

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