How Ear Drops Work For Earwax
All ear drops are designed to break down and dissolve the earwax buildup that is causing issues. The different substances used in the drops work in different ways:
- Mineral oil: Some OTC ear drops contain various types of mineral oil. Mineral oil softens hard and dry wax, which allows the wax to be cleared out of the ear once it becomes soft enough.
- Glycerin: Glycerin is used to soften the wax that has built up in the ears. This helps to clear any blockage or buildup, as the wax can then clear out on its own.
- Carbamide peroxide: Carbamide peroxide releases oxygen in the ear. The oxygen thats released causes foaming within the ear, and that foam softens, loosens, and helps remove the excess buildup of wax.
- Saline solution: Saline solution helps soften the wax that has become hard.
- Baking soda: Since baking soda is an alkaline substance, it can help clear out earwax by dissolving it. It can do this because the earwax is acidic. The chemical reaction that occurs between baking soda and earwax is what dissolves the earwax.
- Acetic acid: Acetic acid is found in water-based ear drops and helps dissolve the earwax buildup.
Although ear drops can be helpful in the removal of built-up earwax, there are some downfalls. For those who have sensitive skin, ear drops can cause irritation of the skin in and around the ear canal. Therefore, they should be used sparingly or as directed.
Sinus Infection Medications: Medicines That Help Treat Sinusitis
Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Masters of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
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Ointments And Creams Administered With A Tube
Otomax is a combination of antimicrobial, corticosteroid and antifungal components. It can treat acute and chronic ear infections whether they are caused by yeast or bacteria. Your veterinarian must prescribe it for your dog.
Panolog is also used to treat canine ear infections and inflammation. Panolog is available in cream and ointment formulations. It combines anti-itching, antimicrobial, antifungal, and corticosteroid drugs in one compound. It is helpful for bacterial and yeast-induced infections, and is also used in the treatment of canine skin conditions. Like Otomax, Panolog requires a prescription.
One other medication your veterinarian might prescribe is Tritop. In addition to its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, Tritop provides topical pain relief.
Ointments and creams for canine ear infections come in tubes, and are administered by inserting the tube a small distance into the dogs outer ear, using caution to avoid injuring the dog’s ear canal and eardrum. You should not insert the tube deeply into the ear. Squeezing the tube releases a small amount of medication, which you should gently massage into your dog’s ear. As with other ear medications, your dog may shake his or her head vigorously after administration. This is expected and does not mean the medication will not work.
When Your Doctor May Prescribe Antibiotics
While every situation is unique, there are several factors that doctors consider when recommending antibiotics:
- What they see If the infection is in the outer ear, it may be clear its caused by bacteria. In this case your doctor may recommend antibiotic eardrops to help clean out the ear infection. If your doctor cant see the ear infection because its on the inside of the ear, they may not prescribe antibiotics right away.
- How long its been Viral infections typically go away on their own in 1-2 weeks. If the ear infection has been around for less than a week, your doctor may recommend waiting to see if the ear infection goes away on its own, a sign that its viral. If its been more than a week, your doctor may recommend starting antibiotics.
- Your childs age The doctor may be more likely to prescribe antibiotics for children under 2 years old, especially if they have infections in both ears, have pain thats moderate to severe, or have a fever.
- Symptoms If you or your child have certain symptoms, such as an extremely high fever or severe dehydration, your doctor may recommend starting antibiotics sooner.
- Medical conditions Your doctor may recommend starting antibiotics right away if there are certain medical conditions, such as cleft palate or repeat infections, that could lead to problems with an ear infection. In most cases, antibiotics will also be recommended when someone with a cochlear implant gets an ear infection.
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Cold Or Warm Compresses
People often use ice packs or warm compresses, like a heating pad or damp washcloth, to relieve pain. The same can be done for ear pain. This method is safe for both children and adults.
Place the ice pack or warm compress over the ear and alternate between warm and cold after 10 minutes. If you prefer either cold or warm, you can use just one compress.
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Ear Infections In Older Adults
While ear infections are more common in children, older adults can also get them.
Swimmerâs ear is most common in people ages 45 to 75. A potentially life threatening ear infection, malignant otitis externa , mostly occurs in older people with diabetes or weakened immune systems.
The aging process may affect the structure of the ears, making older adults more susceptible to ear diseases.
A of 138 people ages 60 and over found that 9.4% had a middle ear infection.
Older adults who have ear infections may experience symptoms such as the following:
Otc Medicine For Sinus Congestion
When your sinuses become inflamed and congested, this means that the tiny, air-filled spaces that are connected to your nasal cavity have been blocked or are unable to drain normally. This buildup of mucus then causes a feeling of pressure or fullness in your forehead, eyes, or jaw. Luckily, OTC medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can alleviate pain caused by the pressure buildup.
Here are the most common types of OTC medication for sinus congestion:
1. Decongestant: Nasal decongestants are available in tablets, liquids, and nasal sprays and work by reducing blood flow to the sinuses, ultimately reducing nasal swelling and inflammation. Popular nasal decongestants include:
- Phenylephrine with brand names Sudafed PE, Vicks Sinex, and Pretz-D.
- Pseudoephedrine with brand names Sudafed, Dimetapp Decongestant, and 12 Hour Cold Maximum Strength.
2. Pain reliever: There are two main categories of pain relievers:
3. Antihistamines: Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergies, but they can be used to treat stomach problems and the common cold among other ailments. Antihistamines work by blocking the effects of histamine, which your immune system releases to protect against foreign invasions. Histamines cause symptoms like inflammation, congestion, a runny nose, and sneezing. So antihistamines are designed to alleviate those symptoms. Popular antihistamines include cetirizine and fexofenadine .
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Can/should I Take A Sinus Decongestant For A Sinus Infection
You can take certain decongestants for a sinus infection. Decongestants that contain only pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine are more typically recommended for a sinus infection. Decongestants with additional ingredients like antihistamines may suppress your bodys immune response and interfere with your bodys ability to fight the infection. If you have a severe sinus infection, or if youre on antibiotics, consult with your doctor about the best OTC medication choice for you.
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Sinus Infection Medication For Bacterial Causes
Bacterial sinus infections are caused by large amounts of foreign bacteria creating colonies in the sinuses, causing inflammation and infection. This happens when you touch your nose, eyes, or ears too often without washing your hands frequently.
There are several bacterial infections that may result in a sinus infection if symptoms worsen over time.
If over-the-counter medications are not working, you may need to seek a prescription for antibiotics as a sinus infection medication. Luckily, our sister site PlushCare gives you access to top doctors who can write prescriptions for many medications, including antibiotics for sinusitismake an appointment through PlushCare to get started.
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Can You Treat An Ear Infection At Home
It depends on the severity.
Mild-to-moderate ear infections frequently go away on their own. Fortunately, you can usually treat your symptoms at home in these situations. The CDC recommends rest, plenty of fluids, and pain relievers as the main home remedies for ear infections.
But severe ear infections cant, and shouldnt, be treated at home. You may need to take antibiotic or antiviral medications. Antibiotics and antivirals arent available OTC theyre only available with a prescription. In rare cases, your healthcare provider may also need to insert a small tube to help your ear drain.
If you need an antiviral medication, you should start taking it as soon as possible. For instance, if a virus like the flu has led to an ear infection, antiviral medications should ideally be taken within a few days of getting sick.
If you need an antibiotic, time isnt usually as sensitive. Your healthcare provider may recommend taking them right away, or they could recommend that you watch and wait before attempting to treat the infection.
What Are The Best Home Remedies For Ear Infections
Since watchful waiting is a fairly common approach to treating ear infections, home remedies are popular for treating this common condition. There are many different sworn methods out there for treating everything from the earache or ear pain to the infection itself. However, it is important to remember that if untreated by a medical professional, some ear infections can result in a worsening condition such as a ruptured eardrum or hearing loss. Some of the commonly used home remedies for ear infections include:
- Cold or warm compress: Using a cold or warm compress on the affected ear can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Patients may notice more success by alternating between both a cold compress and warm compress every 10 minutes or so. However, simply using one or the other should make some difference in the condition.
- Changes to sleep positions: Some ear infections are made worse by sleeping in a way that irritates the affected ear. By sleeping with the infected ear raised instead of down it can help relieve pressure and may allow it to drain more easily or prevent fluid buildup.
- Olive oil: While it is an older remedy, olive oil is said to have some soothing properties. It is used by putting just a few warmed drops in the patients ear. It may have some soothing benefits. However, given that it isnt a studied treatment for ear infections it might be a better option to use in combination with other home remedies.
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Can I Get Antibiotics Without Seeing A Doctor
You can not get oral antibiotics, such as amoxicillin and penicillin, without talking to a doctor. That said, you are able to get antibiotics without seeing a doctor in person.
A video or phone call is a great way to get prescribed antibiotics from the comfort of your home if it is felt to be needed. During an online consultation, a doctor can diagnose your infection and determine an appropriate treatment method, including antibiotics if necessary. Your antibiotic prescription will be electronically sent to your local pharmacy for pick up.
What Is An Ear Infection
There are different types of ear infections. Middle ear infection is an infection in the middle ear.
Another condition that affects the middle ear is called otitis media with effusion. It occurs when fluid builds up in the middle ear without being infected and without causing fever, ear pain, or pus build-up in the middle ear.
When the outer ear canal is infected, the condition is called swimmers ear, which is different from a middle ear infection. For more information, visit Swimmers Ear .
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Can I Treat An Ear Infection At Home
Swimmers ear home treatment
An outer ear infection may take several days to heal, but the pain usually is gone within one week. Moreover, the warmer the water, the higher the likelihood of getting swimmers ear, for example, people who swim in the summer are more likely to develop an outer ear infection than wintertime surfers.
Middle ear infection home treatment
Numerous studies have shown that viruses cause middle ear infections. Pain management for ear pain for two or three days will allow the bodys natural immune system to fight and cure the infection, much like the common cold. However, some people with middle ear infections may need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional for medical treatment.
Inner ear infection and labyrinthitis home treatment
Inner ear infections and labyrinthitis usually treat inner ear infections in adults and children.
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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What You Should Not Do To Soothe A Cold Or Ear Infection:
- Do not give over-the-counter cold medicines to children under age 2. Consider avoiding them if the child is older, too.
- Do not tilt an infants crib mattress. Children under age 1 should sleep on a flat mattress with no pillows or blankets.
- Do not allow a child to drink while lying down, as it can increase the chances of getting an ear infection.
- Do not smoke. Families and caregivers who smoke increase a childs chance of getting colds and ear infections.
Because young children get more colds in the winter, they may also develop more ear infections. Five out of six children will experience at least one ear infection by the time they are 3 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Common Antibiotics For Sinus Infections
Antibiotics may be prescribed when symptoms of a sinus infection warrant such treatment. Common antibiotics for sinus infection include:
- Levaquin : Although this drug is often prescribed as a first line of therapy for sinusitis, it has serious side effects and should only be used as a last resort.
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Ear Infections And Kids Anatomy
Its their anatomy that makes them particularly susceptible.
Older children and adults have a more efficient system for clearing colds. The fluid that builds up in the ear during and after an upper respiratory illness drains down the Eustachian tube, the canal that links the ear to the nose and throat.
In children younger than age 7, the Eustachian tube is shorter and more horizontally positioned, so the fluid takes longer to drain. The build-up can press on the eardrum, causing pain that is especially noticeable to kids when they lay down, breastfeed or suck on a bottle.
Whats The Difference Between Antibiotic Solutions And Suspensions
Solutions are liquids where the active ingredients are dissolved. Suspensions are liquids in which the particles are suspended, or scattered throughout the liquid, and not quite dissolved. Some medications are stable as a suspension but not as a solution.
The main difference between the two is how irritating they might be. Antibiotic solutions are generally more irritating than suspensions because solutions have a more acidic pH of 3-4, whereas suspensions have a less acidic pH of 5.
Solutions may also contain alcohol to help kill bacteria, but the alcohol can be extremely irritating when these solutions are applied.
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