What Are The Possible Side
It is not possible in this leaflet to list all the possible side-effects of each antibiotic. However, as with all medicines, there are a number of side-effects that have been reported with each of the different antibiotics. If you want more information specific to your antibiotic then you should read the information leaflet that comes with the medicine.
Most side-effects of antibiotics are not serious. Common side-effects include soft stools , diarrhoea, or mild stomach upset such as feeling sick . Less commonly, some people have an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and some have died from a severe allergic reaction â this is very rare.
You should tell your doctor if you have any of the following side-effects:
- Severe watery diarrhoea and tummy cramps: signs of a serious bacterial infection of the gut âClostridium difficile infection.
- White patches on the tongue: signs of oral thrush.
Some antibiotics may interact with other medicines that you might take. This may cause reactions, or reduce the effectiveness of one or other of the treatments. So, when you are prescribed an antibiotic you should tell a doctor if you take other medicines.
Check If It’s 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.
|Inner ear infection||Middle ear infection||Outer ear infection|
|Can affect both children and adults||Usually affects children||Usually affects adults aged 45 to 75|
|Caused by viral or bacterial infections||Caused by viruses like colds and flu||Caused by something irritating the ear canal, such as eczema, water or wearing earplugs|
|Affects parts of the inner ear like the labyrinth and vestibular system, and can lead to labyrinthitis||Affects the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the nose||Affects the ear canal|
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What Causes An Infection
Millions of microbes live on our skin and inside our body, and generally cause little harm. Trillions more live in the environment or on other animals. The most common organisms that can cause infection include:
- Bacteria. These are microscopic, usually single-celled organisms that are food everywhere . Common bacterial infections include acne, pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections.
- Viruses. These consist of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, that is only able to multiply within the living cells of a host. Common viral infections include the colds, flu, and herpes
- Fungi. These are multicellular organisms that are free-living in soil or water or form parasitic or symbiotic relationships with plants or animals. Examples of fungal infections include Vaginal thrush and athletes foot.
- Parasites. These live in or on an organism of another species and derive nutrients at the hosts expense, such as pinworms or tape worms.
- Prions. These are a type of protein that can trigger normal proteins in the brain to fold abnormally. Some are spread by infected meat products .
Normally, your immune system helps protect your body against these invaders. However, cancer, chemotherapy, medications such as steroids, heavy metals, toxins, a poor diet or sleep, and many other health conditions can damage your immune system reducing your ability to fight infection.
When Should I Call The Doctor
- has other serious medical problems,
- vomits over and over,
- is younger than 6 months old,
- is older than 6 months old and has had a fever for more than 48 hours,
- has redness and swelling behind the ear,
- is very sleepy,
- has a skin rash,
- isnt hearing well or at all,
- remains in a lot of pain despite at least one dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or
- still has an earache after 2 days of treatment with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
Contact your provider if:
- You have swelling behind the ear.
- Your symptoms get worse, even with treatment.
- You have high fever or severe pain.
- Severe pain suddenly stops, which may indicate a ruptured eardrum.
- New symptoms appear, especially severe headache, dizziness, swelling around the ear, or twitching of the face muscles.
Let the provider know right away if a child younger than 6 months has a fever, even if the child doesnt have other symptoms.
When To Seek Medical Advice
Most cases of otitis media pass within a few days, so there’s usually no need to see your GP.
However, see your GP if you or your child have:
- symptoms showing no sign of improvement after two or three days
- a discharge of pus or fluid from the ear some people develop a persistent and painless ear discharge that lasts for many months, known as chronic suppurative otitis media
- an underlying health condition, such as cystic fibrosis or congenital heart disease, which could make complications more likely
Read more about diagnosing middle ear infections
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Specific Antibiotics Used For Acute Otitis Media
Amoxicillin, a penicillin type of antibiotic, is generally recommended for first-line treatment of AOM. The combination drug amoxicillin-clavulanate is an alternative option. Children who are allergic to penicillin drugs will be prescribed a different antibiotic.
Children who do not respond within 48 to 72 hours to initial treatment with amoxicillin may be given a course of amoxicillin-clavulanate or ceftriaxone. Alternative treatments are ceftriaxone or clindamycin, which may also be accompanied by a different cephalosporin antibiotic.
What Does An Ear Infection Feel Like
Symptoms depend on which part of your ear is infected and can include:
- ear pain or itch
- discharge from your ear
- redness or swelling of your ear
Babies and small children might:
- pull or rub their ear
- have a high temperature
- have redness around the ear
- be restless or irritable
- not respond to noises that would normally attract their attention
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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.
How Do Ear Infections Happen
A middle ear infection usually happens because of swelling in one or both of the eustachian tubes . The tubes let mucus drain from the middle ear into the throat.
A cold, throat infection, acid reflux, or allergies can make the eustachian tubes swell. This blocks the mucus from draining. Then, or grow in the mucus and make pus, which builds up in the middle ear.
When doctors refer to an ear infection, they usually mean otitis media rather than swimmerâs ear . Otitis media with effusion is when noninfected fluid builds up in the ear. It might not cause symptoms, but in some kids, the fluid creates a sensation of ear fullness or âpopping.â
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Why Do Children Get Many More Ear Infections Than Adults Will My Child Always Get Ear Infections
Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections for these reasons:
- The eustachian tubes in young children are shorter and more horizontal. This shape encourages fluid to gather behind the eardrum.
- The immune system of children, which in the bodys infection-fighting system, is still developing.
- The adenoids in children are relatively larger than they are in adults. The adenoids are the small pads of tissue above the throat and behind the nose and near the eustachian tubes. As they swell to fight infection, they may block the normal ear drainage from the eustachian tube into the throat. This blockage of fluid can lead to a middle ear infection.
Most children stop getting ear infections by age 8.
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Evidence Of An Inflammation
Still, it was found that prescription-only ear drops seemed to effectively relieve the symptoms of outer ear infections. Some studies also looked at combinations of different types of drugs, but none of the treatments were found to be better or worse than others.
Theres no that over-the-counter disinfectant ear drops are as effective as ear drops containing or steroids.
Doctors can help people decide which prescription ear drops are most suitable.
All ear drops can also have side effects such as burning sensations or rashes. But side effects are unlikely if you use the ear drops properly. If you arent sure how to use them, you can consult the package insert or ask your doctor.
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Ear Infections In Babies And Toddlers
Ear infections in babies and toddlers are extremely common. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, five out of six children will experience an ear infection before their third birthday.
Many parents are concerned that an ear infection will affect their childs hearing irreversiblyor that an ear infection will go undetected and untreated, says David Tunkel, M.D., Johns Hopkins Medicine pediatric otolaryngologist . The good news is that most ear infections go away on their own, and those that dont are typically easy to treat.
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About Middle Ear Infections
Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear that causes inflammation and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum.
Anyone can develop a middle ear infection but infants between six and 15 months old are most commonly affected.
It’s estimated that around one in every four children experience at least one middle ear infection by the time they’re 10 years old.
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When Should I See A Doctor
You should visit your doctor if:
- you or your child is in pain
- there is discharge from your or your child’s ear
- you or your child is unwell or vomiting or has a fever
- you or your child can’t hear properly
- your child gets repeated ear infections
Go to your nearest emergency department if there is redness, pain or swelling of the bone behind the ear or if the ear is pushed forward. This could be a sign of a serious infection called mastoiditis.
Medical Treatment In Children
Doctors often take a wait-and-see approach when treating ear infections in children to avoid over-prescribing antibiotics, which can lead to antibiotic resistance.
A doctor may sometimes write you a prescription for antibiotics if symptoms are severe or dont resolve within 2 to 3 days. Alternatively, they may write you a prescription but recommend waiting first to see if your childs symptoms get better after 2 to 3 days.
Its important to finish your entire prescription. Often, a 7- or 10-day prescription of amoxicillin is prescribed.
You shouldnt give children aspirin without their doctors instruction. Aspirin is a preventable risk factor for developingReyes syndrome, a rare disorder that causes brain and liver damage.
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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.
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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Can Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis Be Prevented
Currently, there are no vaccines designed specifically against infectious sinusitis or sinus infections. However, there are vaccines against viruses and bacteria that may cause some infectious sinusitis. Vaccination against pathogens known to cause infectious sinusitis may indirectly reduce or prevent the chance of getting the disease however, no specific studies support this assumption. Fungal vaccines against sinusitis are not available, currently.
If you are prone to recurrent bouts of a yearly sinus infection it may be important to consider allergy testing to see if this is the underlying cause of the recurring problem. Treatment of the allergy may prevent secondary bacterial sinus infections. In addition, sinus infections may be due to other problems such as nasal polyps, tumors, or diseases that obstruct normal mucus flow. Treatment of these underlying causes may prevent recurrent sinus infections.
When To Call The Doctor For An Ear Infection
Some symptoms of an inner ear infection can be the same as a stroke. If you have vomiting, headache, vision changes, fever, weakness in one side of your body, slurred speech or are unable to walk, seek medical care right away.
Infections involving high fever, discharge or bleeding from the ear canal, headache, vomiting, dizziness, loss of hearing, or severe pain should be seen by a doctor. A doctor should see most people with an inner ear infection.
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