How To Treat An Ear Infection At Home
Which parts of the ear can become infected?
Where Can I Find Additional Information About Ear Infections
The NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that provide information on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language.
Use the following keywords to help you search for organizations that can answer questions and provide printed or electronic information on ear infections:
Middle Ear Fluid Buildup
Most children who have ear infections still have some fluid behind the eardrum a few weeks after the infection is gone. For some children, the fluid clears in about a month. And a few children still have fluid buildup several months after an ear infection clears. This fluid buildup in the ear is called otitis media with effusion. Hearing problems can result, because the fluid affects how the middle ear works. Usually, infection does not occur.
Otitis media with fluid buildup may occur even if a child has not had an obvious ear infection or upper respiratory infection. In these cases, something else has caused eustachian tube blockage.
In rare cases, complications can arise from middle ear infection or fluid buildup. Examples include hearing loss and ruptured eardrum.
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When Should You Go To The Hospital For An Ear Infection
You should contact your doctor straight away if: The signs dont reinforce inside 3 days. Body temperature rises above 100.Four degrees as an accompanying fever may just indicate a more critical an infection. Ear infections are being skilled ceaselessly, as they can eventually lead to listening to loss.
What Are The Symptoms
The main symptom is an earache. It can be mild, or it can hurt a lot. Babies and young children may be fussy. They may pull at their ears and cry. They may have trouble sleeping. They may also have a fever.
You may see thick, yellow fluid coming from their ears. This happens when the infection has caused the eardrum to burst and the fluid flows out. This isn’t serious and usually makes the pain go away. The eardrum usually heals on its own.
When fluid builds up but doesn’t get infected, children often say that their ears just feel plugged. They may have trouble hearing, but their hearing usually returns to normal after the fluid is gone. It may take weeks for the fluid to drain away.
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Home Treatment Isnt Working
There are a number of home remedies that can help with an infection. A warm compress, over-the-counter drops, and even tea tree oil are commonly used.
However, if youve tried to get rid of the infection with a home remedy and youre still having problems after a few days, its time to seek help. The last thing you want is for the infection to worsen.
In addition, if symptoms return after youve treated the infection at home, its time to call Amory Urgent Care.
What Causes A Middle
The middle ear connects to the throat by a canal called the eustachiantube. This tube helps even out the pressure between the outer ear and theinner ear. A cold or allergy can irritate the tube or cause the area aroundit to swell. This can keep fluid from draining from the middle ear. Thefluid builds up behind the eardrum. Bacteria and viruses can grow in thisfluid. The bacteria and viruses cause the middle-ear infection.
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Otitis Interna Or Labyrinthitis
It is defined as the inflammation in the inner ear caused by a bacterial or viral infection.
Causes Purulent labyrinthitis usually occurs when bacteria spread to the inner ear as a complication of severe OM, purulent meningitis, trauma causing a labyrinthine fracture leading to an infection, or an enlarging cholesteatoma.
Symptoms Symptoms of purulent labyrinthitis include ear pain, fever, severe vertigo, nystagmus, nausea and vomiting, tinnitus , and hearing loss.
Symptoms of viral vestibular neuronitis include severe vertigo, with nausea, vomiting and persistent nystagmus toward the affected side, which lasts 7 to 10 days.
The condition resolves over days to weeks after the initial episode. Some patients have residual balance issues.
Diagnosis CT of the temporal bone is done to identify erosion of the otic capsule bone or other complications of acute otitis media leading OI.
MRI may be done if symptoms of meningitis or brain abscess are noted. In that case, a lumbar puncture and blood cultures also are done.
Patients suspected of having vestibular neuronitis undergo an audiologic assessment, electronystagmography with caloric testing, and contrast-enhanced MRI of the head.
Treatment Treatment is with IV antibiotics appropriate for meningitis .
These are later adjusted according to results of culture and sensitivity testing.
A myringotomy is done to drain the middle ear.
If vomiting is prolonged, IV fluids and electrolytes may be required.
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
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Can Covid Cause Ear Infections
Ear infections have not been found to be a common symptom of COVID-19. However, more research is showing how COVID-19 can affect the human ear.
Hearing impairment and symptoms like severe gastric upsets and blood clots that result in gangrene are among some of the more serious symptoms being reported in some people who contracted the Delta variant of COVID-19 in India.
Some research has also pointed to COVID-19 being detected in the middle ear. A July 2020 study found that the autopsies of two people who died with COVID-19 tested positive for the virus in the middle ear.
The authors of the study wrote that this does not necessarily imply current or future otologic symptomatology in people who have COVID-19 infection present in their middle ear. More research needs to be done to better understand the effects of COVID-19 in the human ear.
How Is It Treated
Most ear infections go away on their own, although antibiotics are recommended for children younger than 6 months of age and for children at high risk for complications. You can treat your child at home with an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen , a warm cloth on the ear, and rest. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. Your doctor may give you eardrops that can help your child’s pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
Your doctor can give your child antibiotics, but ear infections often get better without them. Talk about this with your doctor. Whether you use them will depend on how old your child is and how bad the infection is.
Minor surgery to put tubes in the ears may help if your child has hearing problems or repeat infections.
Sometimes after an infection, a child cannot hear well for a while. Call your doctor if this lasts for 3 to 4 months. Children need to be able to hear in order to learn how to talk.
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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 Causes Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear or otitis externa usually develops in ears that are exposed to moisture. People who get it often have been diving or swimming a lot, which can bring germs directly into the ear canal. Swimmer’s ear often happens during the summer months, when lots of us are enjoying water activities.
People who don’t swim can also develop it by scratching their ear canals when they try to clean their ears. This is especially true if they use cotton swabs or dangerously sharp small objects, like hair clips or bobby pins.
Sometimes, in a person with a middle ear infection , pus collected in the middle ear can drain into the ear canal through a hole in the eardrum, causing otitis externa.
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Types Of Ear Infection In Adults
The majority of ear infections are the outer ear infection , but the middle ear infection can also occur .
Outer Ear Infection
Outer ear infections are also known as swimmer’s ear, because it is a common swimmer’s problem. Swimmer’s ear is an infection in the outer canal of the ear. It happens when contaminated water gets into the outer ear letting germs to grow and develop because of the moist, warm conditions.
Middle Ear Infection
Middle ear infection is most often a viral or bacterial infection that affects the air-filled space behind the eardrum, containing small vibrating bones of the ear. When bacteria or fluid gets trapped inside the ear, an infection might occur.
How To Take Oral Antibiotics
Itâs 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.
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Can Ear Infections Be Prevented
Currently, the best way to prevent ear infections is to reduce the risk factors associated with them. Here are some things you might want to do to lower your childs risk for ear infections.
- Vaccinate your child against the flu. Make sure your child gets the influenza, or flu, vaccine every year.
- It is recommended that you vaccinate your child with the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine . The PCV13 protects against more types of infection-causing bacteria than the previous vaccine, the PCV7. If your child already has begun PCV7 vaccination, consult your physician about how to transition to PCV13. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children under age 2 be vaccinated, starting at 2 months of age. Studies have shown that vaccinated children get far fewer ear infections than children who arent vaccinated. The vaccine is strongly recommended for children in daycare.
- Wash hands frequently. Washing hands prevents the spread of germs and can help keep your child from catching a cold or the flu.
- Avoid exposing your baby to cigarette smoke. Studies have shown that babies who are around smokers have more ear infections.
- Never put your baby down for a nap, or for the night, with a bottle.
- Dont allow sick children to spend time together. As much as possible, limit your childs exposure to other children when your child or your childs playmates are sick.
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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When To Go To A Doctor For Ear Piercing Infection
Any minor infection on any ear piercing can be successfully cured at home for some fundamental ways. Cleaning the ear piercing using saltwater thrice on a day surely helps a lot. But if the infection starts to develop on the cartilage, this becomes harder to cure, and you may be required to take oral antibiotics. Getting an opinion from an ENT doctor and hospitalization may be necessary as soon significant cartilage infections are observed.
Though An Ear Infection Is More Frequently Diagnosed In Children It Is Also Common In Adults Know The Type Of Infection You Have And Get Treatments Early
The ear is one of the most sensitive body parts. This sensory organ should be cared properly to avoid various problems, such as an ear infection. An ear infection is a common condition. Even though it is more frequently diagnosed in children, it is also common in adults. The ear consists of the three main parts: outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Sound waves reach the outer ear first, then middle ear and then travel to the inner ear. A number of conditions can influence your hearing and ear infections are the most frequent.
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When Should You Go To The Doctor For An Ear Infection
I used to suffer from ear infections perhaps every two months as a kid, and if theres one thing I dont want to experience again, its an ear infection.
Whilst they are numerous remedies to help ease sore throats, colds, and coughs, ear infections are a different matter.
Five out of six children will have had at least one by their third birthday, but when should you do to the doctor for an ear infection?
Should I Go To The Doctor For An Ear Infection
If youre dealing with ear pain and still asking yourself, Should I go to the doctor for an ear infection? the right answer depends on your symptoms and situation. There are times, especially if your baby has an ear infection, you should go to the doctor right away. But in most cases, you can probably wait out an ear infection on your own.
Think you might have an ear infection and arent sure who to see, contact us and well get you the help you need.
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