How Is A Middle
Your health care provider will take a medical history and do a physicalexam. He or she will look at the outer ear and eardrum with an otoscope.The otoscope is a lighted tool that lets your provider see inside the ear.A pneumatic otoscope blows a puff of air into the ear to check how wellyour eardrum moves. If you eardrum doesnt move well, it may mean you havefluid behind it.
Your provider may also do a test called tympanometry. This test tells howwell the middle ear is working. It can find any changes in pressure in themiddle ear. Your provider may test your hearing with a tuning fork.
Is An Ear Infection Contagious
To some degree, the bacteria that cause ear infections are contagious because they may colonize, or set up residence, in the nose of children or close contacts. However, only a small proportion of children colonized with a new strain of bacteria will develop an ear infection. For example, in the case of pneumococcus, only about 15% of children colonized in the nose with a new strain of it will develop an ear infection, and usually only within the first month. Also, some bacterial strains appear more aggressive than others and will directly invade the middle ear.
What may be even more important than new bacterial colonization is the spread of respiratory viruses, particularly among children in daycare and pre-schools. Respiratory viruses are very contagious in close quarters. They frequently make a child more susceptible to an ear infection by upsetting the normal balance between the child’s local nose immunity and the co-inhabitant bacteria. When the child’s defenses are down, or the eustachian tube becomes clogged, the bacteria tend to infect the middle ear.
Signs In Young Children
As babies are unable to communicate the source of their discomfort, it can be difficult to tell what’s wrong with them. Signs that a young child might have an ear infection include:
- raised temperature
- pulling, tugging or rubbing their ear
- irritability, poor feeding or restlessness at night
- coughing or a runny nose
- unresponsiveness to quiet sounds or other signs of difficulty hearing, such as inattentiveness
- loss of balance
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Four Key Strep A Symptoms Parents Should Never Ignore As Fourth Child Dies
Muhammad Ibrahim Ali became the fourth child to die as the viral infection sweeps across UK schools
- 13:05, 2 DEC 2022
Four children have now been reported to have died as a viral infection sweeps through schools across the UK. Four-year-old Buckinghamshire schoolboy Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, died at his home on November 14, his parent’s said.
Three other children have been reported as dying after contracting the virus. The UK Health Security Agency said a child in London had passed away then on Thursday Victoria Primary School in Penarth, Wales, confirmed the death of another child while a six-year-old pupil at Ashford Church of England Primary School in Surrey also died from strep A at the beginning of last week.
But what are the signs that a child has the virus and when is it vital to seek medical help. North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust explains what the infection is and what to do if you suspect you or your child has it.
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.
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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.
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.
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What’s The Treatment For An Ear Infection
In recent years, doctors have cut back on using antibiotics to treat every ear infection. One reason is that ear infections that are caused by viruses would not respond to antibiotics anyway.
Also, it turns out that most ear infections clear up without these meds after two or three days, and giving your child too many antibiotics can put him at risk for becoming resistant to these potent drugs when they’re really needed. Plus, the overuse of antibiotics contributes to the creation of superbugs in our communities that are resistant to treatment.
What most pediatricians do now is take a wait-and-see approach with ear infections which means they hold off on giving antibiotics at the first sign of an ear infection to see if it gets better on its own. Pediatricians often suggest acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief.
Sometimes, though, antibiotics are needed especially when the infection is severe so talk with your doctor about what’s best for your toddler.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Ear Infection
There are three main types of ear infections. Each has a different combination of symptoms.
- Acute otitis media is the most common ear infection. Parts of the middle ear are infected and swollen and fluid is trapped behind the eardrum. This causes pain in the earcommonly called an earache. Your child might also have a fever.
- Otitis media with effusion sometimes happens after an ear infection has run its course and fluid stays trapped behind the eardrum. A child with OME may have no symptoms, but a doctor will be able to see the fluid behind the eardrum with a special instrument.
- Chronic otitis media with effusion happens when fluid remains in the middle ear for a long time or returns over and over again, even though there is no infection. COME makes it harder for children to fight new infections and also can affect their hearing.
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How Long Will It Take My Child To Get Better
Your child should start feeling better within a few days after visiting the doctor. If its been several days and your child still seems sick, call your doctor. Your child might need a different antibiotic. Once the infection clears, fluid may still remain in the middle ear but usually disappears within three to six weeks.
What Are The Symptoms
Group A Strep can cause throat infection, scarlet fever or skin infections such ascellulitis or impetigo. These infections are usually treated with antibiotics.
Very rarely it can cause severe illness when the bacteria get into parts of the body that are usually free from bacteria such as the lungs, blood or muscles. This is called invasive Group A Streptococcal disease.
Invasive disease happens when the bacteria get past your bodys immune defences. This can happen when you are already ill or are on treatments, such as some cancer treatments, that affect your immune system.
Two of the most severe types of invasive disease are necrotising fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome.
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Should My Child See Her Pediatrician For An Ear Infection
In some cases with older babies and toddlers, mild symptoms may go away on their own. But if your child is under 6 months old, has a high fever, severe pain, drainage or swelling in the ear, its time to call your pediatrician. However, your doctor wont necessarily prescribe antibiotics right away. Ear infections are caused by both bacteria and viruses, so antibiotics arent always the solution. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, there are several reasons why doctors dont prescribe antibiotics for every ear infection:
- Antibiotics dont work for ear infections caused by viruses.
- Antibiotics dont help the pain associated with ear infections
- Infections from both viruses and bacteria often disappear without antibiotics in a few days, especially in children over two years old.
- Physicians are keenly aware that the overprescription of antibiotics makes vital medicines less effective, so we work hard to use them only when truly necessary. In many cases, your doctor will watch the infection for a few days to see if it goes away on its own.
What Research Is Being Done
The most important recent development to potentially reduce the frequency of ear infections is a new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. A study from Northern California suggests that this vaccine could prevent about 7% of overall episodes of ear infections, and up to 23% of recurrent ear infections.
The new pneumococcal vaccine contains 7 of 90 types of pneumococcus, which are the most common and the most resistant bacteria. Elimination of these resistant types could have an impact on the number of antibiotic failures in children. This also could mean a reduction in the placement of tubes, possibly by one-fourth, as observed in the California study.
This vaccine is administered to infants at 2, 4, 6, and 12 months of age. Side effects have been minimal, and it has been a very safe vaccine. It uses the same technology as the universally administered HIB vaccine.
Some new antibiotics are about to undergo testing in children with acute otitis media. In preliminary testing, these drugs appear to work against the resistant pneumococcus.
About the Author
Dr. Block is a full-time practicing pediatrician in rural Bardstown, Kentucky who serves on the clinical faculties at both the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville as an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics.
His pediatric practice is one of the leading pediatric research groups in the United States and, in fact, Dr. Block was awarded the American Academy of Pediatrics 1998 Practitioner Research Award.
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Other Signs To Look Out For
Group A Strep can cause throat infection, scarlet fever or skin infections such ascellulitis or impetigo. This is what the NHS says to watch for on each of those
The first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands . A rash appears 12 to 48 hours later.
It looks looks like small, raised bumps and starts on the chest and tummy, then spreads. The rash makes your skin feel rough, like sandpaper. On white skin the rash looks pink or red. It may be harder to see on brown and black skin, but you can still feel it.
A white coating also appears on the tongue. This peels, leaving the tongue red, swollen and covered in little bumps . The rash does not appear on the face, but the cheeks can look red. The redness may be harder to see on brown and black skin.
It advises to see your GP if you or your child:
- have scarlet fever symptoms
- do not get better in a week
- have scarlet fever and chickenpox at the same time
- are ill again, weeks after scarlet fever got better this can be a sign of a complication, such as rheumatic fever
- are feeling unwell and have been in contact with someone who has scarlet fever
Scarlet fever is very easily spread. Check with a GP before you go in. They may suggest a phone consultation. It can be treated with antibioitics to speed up recovery and reduce the chance of serious illness.
You can relieve symptoms of scarlet fever by:
It stops being contagious:
When Should I Call The Doctor About An Ear Infection
- You or your child develops a stiff neck.
- Your child acts sluggish, looks or acts very sick, or does not stop crying despite all efforts.
- Your childs walk is not steady he or she is physically very weak.
- You or your childs ear pain is severe.
- You or your child has a fever over 104° F .
- Your child is showing signs of weakness in their face .
- You see bloody or pus-filled fluid draining from the ear.
- The fever remains or comes back more than 48 hours after starting an antibiotic.
- Ear pain is not better after three days of taking an antibiotic.
- Ear pain is severe.
- You have any questions or concerns.
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Ear Infections And High Fevers
Second, why do ear infections happen? The Eustachian tube that conects the “middle” ear to the back of the throat doesn’t always work as well as we’d like. It can get clogged with mucus from colds or allergies because of its small size and horizontal positioning . This predisposes to fluid collection and poor drainage from the middle ear.
Third, what about the fever and pain? If this fluid can’t drain and then gets infected with germs, particularly bacteria, inflammation and pain can result in the middle ear. But each child and each ear infection is different. Some children just poke at their ears. Some get fever, low or high. Others complain of pain, pointing to the ear or throat. It may start after a few days of a cold, giving a little time for the germs to settle in and cause infection in the middle ear, or it may be found coincidentally when your child is seemingly well.
Finally, how are they treated? Your child’s doctor will often prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection. Realize that it may take up to three or four days for the pain and fever to get better. If these symptoms are not going away or your child just isn’t getting better, touch base with her doctor to see if anything else is recommended.
Who Gets An Ear Infection
At the highest risk for ear infections include those children who:
- Have a strong family history of otitis media
- Were not breastfed during the first 12 months of life and/or
- Reside in a smoking household.
Children with a cleft palate or HIV have particularly severe problems with recurrent ear infections.
Age affects the rate of acute otitis media, with a dramatic decline in frequency in children older than three years. However, some children with a history of ventilating tubes or frequent recurrent otitis media, severe allergies, or large adenoids may still be plagued with ear problems.
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Can An Ear Infection Cause A Fever In Children
Since ear infections are common among young children and babies that have a cold, you may also be wondering, Can an ear infection cause a fever? The answer is yes. A common sign of an ear infection in children is a fever after the cold symptoms appear. In fact, ear infections can cause temperatures between 100 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit in about 50% of children.
If your childs fever lasts more than 48 hours, its time to get their ears checked by their primary care physician or local urgent care facility.
How Is An Ear Infection Treated
Treatment of ear infections depends on age, severity of the infection, the nature of the infection and if fluid remains in the middle ear for a long period of time.
Your healthcare provider will recommend medications to relieve you or your childs pain and fever. If the ear infection is mild, depending on the age of the child, your healthcare provider may choose to wait a few days to see if the infection goes away on its own before prescribing an antibiotic.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if bacteria are thought to be the cause of the ear infection. Your healthcare provider may want to wait up to three days before prescribing antibiotics to see if a mild infection clears up on its own when the child is older. If your or your childs ear infection is severe, antibiotics might be started right away.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended when to prescribe antibiotics and when to consider waiting before prescribing based on your childs age, severity of their infection, and your childs temperature. Their recommendations are shown in the table below.
American Academy of Pediatrics Treatment Guide for Acute Otitis Media
|in one or both ears||Mild for < 48 hours and temp < 102.2° F||Treat with antibiotic OR observe. If observe, start antibiotics if child worsens or doesnt improve within 48 to 72 hours of start of symptoms|
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