How Can You Tell The Difference Between An Earache And An Ear Infection
An earache may affect one or both ears, but the majority of the time it’s in one ear. It may be constant or come and go, and the pain may be dull, sharp, or burning. If you have an ear infection, fever and temporary hearing loss may occur. Young children who have ear infections tend to be fussy and irritable.
When To Seek Treatment
If you are having ear pain, you may want to wait a day or two to see if the pain will go away on its own. Often earaches will get better after a few days without any medical intervention.
Some ways to treat the pain in your own home include:
- Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Warm compress on the infected ear
If you are still having pain after a few days, have developed a fever, or if the pain has gotten worse, then you will need to see a medical professional.
How Does A Doctor Diagnose A Middle Ear Infection
The first thing a doctor will do is ask you about your childs health. Has your child had a head cold or sore throat recently? Is he having trouble sleeping? Is she pulling at her ears? If an ear infection seems likely, the simplest way for a doctor to tell is to use a lighted instrument, called an otoscope, to look at the eardrum. A red, bulging eardrum indicates an infection.
A doctor also may use a pneumatic otoscope, which blows a puff of air into the ear canal, to check for fluid behind the eardrum. A normal eardrum will move back and forth more easily than an eardrum with fluid behind it.
Tympanometry, which uses sound tones and air pressure, is a diagnostic test a doctor might use if the diagnosis still isnt clear. A tympanometer is a small, soft plug that contains a tiny microphone and speaker as well as a device that varies air pressure in the ear. It measures how flexible the eardrum is at different pressures.
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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.
When Should I Return To My Healthcare Provider For A Follow
Your healthcare provider will let you know when you need to return for a follow-up visit. At that visit, you or your childs eardrum will be examined to be certain that the infection is going away. Your healthcare provider may also want to test you or your childs hearing.
Follow-up exams are very important, especially if the infection has caused a hole in the eardrum.
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When Should My Kid See A Doctor
We recommend following The American Academy of Pediatrics advice, which is to take your child under 6 months old to a doctor right away if you think they have an ear infection. Ear infections in kids this young can worsen and cause significant health complications since their immune systems are not equipped to fight infections yet.
You can treat your kid that is older than 6 months with warm compresses, fluids, rest, and over-the-counter pain relievers. If symptoms do not subside after a day or so of at-home treatment, your child should see an in person or virtual pediatrician for additional support. They can assess and diagnose your child to see if they have any other medical conditions you do not know about and offer more specialized treatment.
Clogged Ears: Causes Symptoms And Treatment Options
In this article:
It is common for people to experience sudden stuffiness in their ears, which is often short-lived. More often than not, you may experience this stuffiness along with diminished hearing, pain, and imbalance, on account of a clogged ear or Eustachian tube dysfunction.
Almost anyone can suffer from a clogged ear, but it affects children more frequently than adults, especially during a common cold or nasal allergy.
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When To See A Doctor For An Ear Infection And Home Remedies To Try First
Theres nothing like getting an ear infection as an adult to increase your empathy for a wailing, feverish baby tugging at her ear in the middle of the night. Ear infections are painful. However, not every ear infection necessitates an immediate trip to your healthcare provider.
Read on to learn more about ear infections how and when you can safely troubleshoot at home and when its time to see a medical provider.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Inner Ear Infection
An instrument called a pneumatic otoscope is often the only specialized tool a doctor needs to diagnose an ear infection. This instrument enables the doctor to look in the ear and judge whether there is fluid behind the eardrum. With the pneumatic otoscope, the doctor gently puffs air against the eardrum.
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How Can I Tell If My Child Has An Ear Infection
Most ear infections happen to children before theyve learned how to talk. If your child isnt old enough to say My ear hurts, here are a few things to look for:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Fussiness and crying
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Clumsiness or problems with balance
- Trouble hearing or responding to quiet sounds
Can You Put Too Much Hydrogen Peroxide In Your Ear
Hydrogen peroxide can cause skin irritation and blistering. It can even cause burns at concentrations over 10%. Using too much hydrogen peroxide can irritate the skin inside the ear, leading to inflammation and earaches. People should not use ear drops if they have an ear infection or a damaged eardrum.
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What Causes Ear Infections
Ear infections are the most common infections of the middle ear. They come with pain, a sensation that the ear is clogged up and can even affect our hearing.
They are usually caused by bacteria in the middle ear, but they can also be viral. More often this happens because of another illness that causes one of your Eustachian tubes to swell or become blocked.
This results in a build-up of fluid in the spaces of the middle ear. The pain is the result of this build-up of fluid and the accompanying inflammation increasing pressure on your eardrum.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Middle
Common symptoms of a middle-ear infection in adults are:
Pain in 1 or both ears
Drainage from the ear
You may also have a fever. Rarely, your balance can be affected.
These symptoms may be the same as for other conditions. Its important totalk with your health care provider if you think you have a middle-earinfection. If you have a high fever, severe pain behind your ear, orparalysis in your face, see your provider as soon as you can.
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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 .
What Happens If An Ear Infection Is Left Untreated
Fluid buildup in the ear can be damaging even if theres no infection and may lead to a ruptured eardrum and hearing loss. So, its important to see the doctor if symptoms remain after finishing the antibiotics. Theyll likely want to take a look in your ear and learn more about your symptoms.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend you see an ear, nose and throat doctor. The ENT doctor may recommend surgery to place small metal or plastic tubes in the ear canal to make it easier for the fluid to drain out. Your doctor may also recommend ear tube surgery for your child if they have recurrent ear infections.
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Treatment For Ear Pain
Doctors have numerous options to treat ear pain. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may only clean the ear wax from your ears. In some cases, ear drops are required to fight infection or to help clear fluid. In more severe cases of infection, it is difficult to clean the ears without first removing the infection, therefore the doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. Doctors recommend not inserting any foreign objects into your ears and only having your ears cleaned by a doctor.
Check If Its An Ear Infection
The symptoms of an ear infection usually start quickly and include:
- discharge running out of the ear
- a feeling of pressure or fullness inside the ear
- itching and irritation in and around the ear
- scaly skin in and around the ear
Young children and babies with an ear infection may also:
- rub or pull their ear
- not react to some sounds
- be irritable or restless
- be off their food
- keep losing their balance
Most ear infections clear up within 3 days, although sometimes symptoms can last up to a week.
If you, or your child, have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
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When Should I See A Doctor For An Ear Infection
Ear infections happen fast, so its important to understand the signs and know what to do in case you need to see a doctor. Its important to get an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment for ear infections, especially if:
- Symptoms last for more than 24 hours
- Symptoms are present in a child less than six months of age
- Ear pain is severe
- Your infant or toddler is sleepless or irritable after an upper respiratory infection
- You see a discharge of clear fluid, pus or bloody fluid from the affected ear
If you or a loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please seek immediate medical treatment. Coastal Urgent Care of Baton Rouge is open for walk-ins 7 days a week between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Our team of skilled specialists has experience treating all types and severities of ear infections.
Symptoms Of An Ear Infection And When To See A Doctor
Ear infections are often bacterial, viral or fungal and can lead to things like ear pain and fever. Children are much more susceptible to ear infections, but the good news is they often resolve on their own and without medication. In fact, 60-80 percent of infants suffer from ear infections before they reach their first birthday. By age 3, as many as 80-90 percent of children have experienced their first ear infection.
If you or a loved one suffers from recurrent or chronic ear infections, it might be time to see a doctor.
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Where To Get Help
- NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. for expert health information and advice
- Royal Children’s Hospital Tel. 9345 5522
- Your maternal and child health nurse
- Your local hospital emergency or casualty department.
- 24 hour Maternal and Child Health Telephone Service: Tel. 13 22 29 for the cost of a local call throughout Victoria.
Do Ear Infections Come On Suddenly
The bacteria or virus infect and trap fluid behind the eardrum, causing pain, swelling/bulging of the eardrum and results in the commonly used term âear infection.â Ear infections can occur suddenly and go away in a few days or come back often and for long periods of time (chronic middle ear …
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Why Are Children More Likely Than Adults To Get Ear Infections
There are several reasons why children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
Eustachian tubes are smaller and more level in children than they are in adults. This makes it difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear, even under normal conditions. If the eustachian tubes are swollen or blocked with mucus due to a cold or other respiratory illness, fluid may not be able to drain.
A childs immune system isnt as effective as an adults because its still developing. This makes it harder for children to fight infections.
As part of the immune system, the adenoids respond to bacteria passing through the nose and mouth. Sometimes bacteria get trapped in the adenoids, causing a chronic infection that can then pass on to the eustachian tubes and the middle ear.
Any Other Recent Innovations In The Treatment Of Ear Infections
Dr. Wang: There’s a procedure I’ve been doing for a few years called Eustachian tube dilation. Using endoscopic guidance through the nose, you insert a balloon in the Eustachian tube, blow it up and leave it there for up to two minutes. This can address the Eustachian tube dysfunction that leads to middle ear infections. I’ve found it works in about 50% of patients, so it doesn’t work for everyone. But it’s so noninvasive, it’s a good place to start with certain patients who are good candidates for it. There’s also a new drug that is almost like a gel that you can squirt into the ear canal. It slowly dissolves and may be easier to get into those really clogged areas than traditional drops.
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Types Of Middle Ear Infections
Middle ear infections often occur after a cold virus or upper respiratory infection. They are also more common in individuals who suffer from allergies or enlarged adenoids , which can inhibit proper functioning of the auditory tube.
Bacteria, viruses, or fungi often enter through the auditory tube, which can then become swollen and blocked with mucus, preventing drainage and ventilation of the middle ear.
The main symptoms of middle ear infections include:
- Ear pain, which may be worse in the morning or cause difficulty sleeping
- Trouble hearing
A healthcare provider can diagnose a middle ear infection based on symptoms and an examination, which involves looking at the eardrum with an otoscope .
How Do I Know If My Child Has An Ear Infection
Older children will usually complain of an earache. While younger children might not be able to say they have an earache, they may:
- have an unexplained fever,
- tug or pull at their ears, or
- have trouble hearing quiet sounds.
Some children with an ear infection may also have fluid draining from the ear.
What If My Symptoms Remain After Ive Taken Antibiotics
If symptoms remain significant after the three day course of antibiotics, it is advisable to return to your GP they might do more tests to ensure the diagnosis of UTI is definitely correct, for example, they may send off your urine sample.
Alternatively, they may have initially sent a urine sample and the results may be back within three days. This would allow them to choose a different antibiotic which may work better for the specific bacteria causing that particular infection.
While it isnt always necessary to take a urine sample when you originally visit the doctors with symptoms, this may be requested if you return with worsening symptoms after three days.
Otitis Media In Adults
Otitis media is another name for a middle ear infection. It means an infection behind your eardrum. This kind of ear infection can happen after any condition that keeps fluid from draining from the middle ear. These conditions include allergies, a cold, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.
Middle ear infections are common in children, but they can also happen in adults. An ear infection in an adult may mean a more serious problem than in a child. So you may need additional tests. If you have an ear infection, you should see your healthcare provider for treatment. If they happen repeatedly, you should see an otolaryngologist or an otologist .
What are the types of middle ear infections?
Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways. They are:
Who is more likely to get a middle ear infection?
You are more likely to get an ear infection if you:
- Smoke or are around someone who smokes
- Have seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms
- Have a cold or other upper respiratory infection
What causes a middle ear infection?
The middle ear connects to the throat by a canal called the eustachian tube. This tube helps even out the pressure between the outer ear and the inner ear. A cold or allergy can irritate the tube or cause the area around it to swell. This can keep fluid from draining from the middle ear. The fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Bacteria and viruses can grow in this fluid. The bacteria and viruses cause the middle ear infection.
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