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.
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.
When Do You Need To See A Doctor
You can treat an ear ache at home with painkillers and taking steps such as keeping the ear dry or sitting up right to help relieve pressure in the ear. If an ear ache is accompanied by dizziness, a serious headache, swelling around the ear or a dropping of the facial muscles on one side of the face then it may be time to seek medical treatment. A persistent fever of 104ºF or higher in children is a clear sign that medical attention is necessary. Most ear aches will improve in a couple of days if that doesnt happen then you may need medical help.
Ear ache is a condition that should be treated cautiously and medical attention sought where necessary.
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How Can You Treat An Ear Infection At Home
There are a few things you can try to get relief from your pain:
- Use OTC pain medication. Acetaminophen can help with the pain, Dr. Kozin says.
- Get rest. Rest allows your bodys immune system energy to do its job and try to help you heal, says Arashdeep Litt, M.D., an internal medicine physician at Spectrum Health.
- Drink plenty of liquids. Drinking a lot of water can help thin the secretions in your ear rather than keeping them thick, says Omid Mehdizadeh, M.D., an otolaryngologist and laryngologist at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. That will help drain mucus in your ear.
- Lie down with the affected ear up. This can help any excess fluid thats behind your eardrum drain through your Eustachian tubes and down your throat, Dr. Mehdizadeh says.
- Use a warm compress. While this wont necessarily help with drainage, it may lessen your pain, Dr. Mehdizadeh says.
It can be tempting to use a cotton swab to see if that will help you get relief, but Dr. Kozin recommends against doing this. One should never put anything in the ear if concerned for an ear infection, such as a cotton tip, as manipulation of the ear can make the infection worse, he warns.
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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So What Causes Middle Ear Infections As Adults
Dr. Wang: In adults, they are usually associated with inflammation in the nasal cavity or the throat, such as a sinus infection, strep throat, cold or flu or if the patient has acid reflux, bad seasonal allergies, is a smoker or is exposed to second-hand smoke. The nasopharyngeal inflammation leads to Eustachian tube dysfunction, which then leads to fluid developing in the middle ear that then becomes infected. Sometimes patients who had middle ear infections a lot as kids continue to get them frequently as adults. Something about the anatomy or physiology of their tubes was never really resolved.
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.
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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.
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.
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Pain Or Pressure In Your Sinuses
Facial pain is a common symptom of sinusitis. You have several different sinuses above and below your eyes, as well as behind your nose. Any of these air-filled cavities can hurt when you have a sinus infection.
Inflammation and swelling can cause your sinuses to ache with dull pressure. This is because inflammation may alter the typical path of mucus from the nose to the back of the throat.
You may feel pain in:
- on either side of your nose
- in your upper jaws and teeth
- between your eyes
This may lead to a headache. Headaches caused by sinus infections can occur where the sinuses are or in other places.
When To See A Doctor
If your childâs symptoms last for more than one day, or if ear pain is severe, you should talk to a doctor. Also call your doctor if you observe bloody fluid or pus draining from the ear. Lastly, call a doctor if your child who is less than six months old is showing symptoms of an ear infection.
Your doctor can prescribe antibiotics that usually treat the infection quickly.
Leaving a severe infection untreated can cause hearing problems or other complications. Mild hearing loss is possible while an infection is present, but if the infection doesnât disappear or keeps coming back, permanent hearing loss is possible. Untreated infections can also lead to dangerous spreading of the infection to nearby body parts.
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Virtual Care For Your Childs Ear Infection
It can be disheartening as a parent not to be able to provide immediate relief to your kids when they have intense ear pain. We understand you want your children to be healthy so they can enjoy playtime with you and their friends. It can also be challenging to receive immediate professional care due to the demands of everyday life, such as work, school, and location.
We believe Telemedicine and virtual pediatric appointments solve all these issues and help you be the superhero in your childs life. You can schedule a virtual visit at any time to diagnose and treat their ear infection from the comfort of home. Give us a call at .961.8885, and we would be glad to answer any questions you have about online doctor appointments.
How Do Cotton Swabs Cause Outer Ear Infections
Dr. Wang: Earwax is a natural way for your body to trap and slow the growth of bacteria that may have entered your ear. When you apply cotton swabs, you often wind up pushing earwax further into the ear canal. This impacted wax can then trap water or moisture deep in the canal, setting you up for an infection.
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Controlling Pain And Symptoms At Home
Mild ear infection symptoms can be controlled with:
- A hot or cold compress
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
Other home remedies, such as numbing drops, or homeopathic remedies, such as essential oils, are not recommended for ear infections.
Over-the-counter numbing drops dont provide long-lasting relief, Dr. Ray said. And essential oils are an unproven treatment.
For the most part, these are not super well-studied. If the ear infection gets so bad that the pressure on the eardrum is enough, it can actually poke a hole in the eardrum. In those cases, those substances can actually get into the middle ear, where they could cause additional harm, Dr. Ray said.
In general, I am not a fan of putting anything in the ear canal to treat these ear infections.
Earaches And Ear Infections
Earaches and ear infections can have a variety of causesviral, bacterial and fungaland can affect different parts of the ear. Common infections include inner ear, middle ear and outer ear infections .
Ear infections also can be caused by scratching the ear canal when cleaning their ear, especially if a cotton-tipped applicator or dangerously sharp small object, such as a hair clip, is used. In other cases, a middle ear infection can cause an external infection to develop through the draining of pus into the ear canal through a hole in the eardrum.
Infections of the inner ear usually result from viral illnesses, such as influenza, and can cause vertigo , dizziness, nausea, imbalance, difficulty concentrating, tinnitus , reduced hearing and other symptoms. These symptoms also may be caused by head injuries, drug reactions, allergies, underlying medical disorders or aging. If you have these symptoms, you should see a physician evaluation to make the diagnosis and to begin appropriate treatment.
If the symptoms are caused by a virus, the infection usually improves on its own. However, a doctor may recommend taking prescription or over-the-counter anti-nausea medications or receiving an injection to control the symptoms. Recurrent symptoms may indicate Menieres disease, a disorder in which fluid builds up in the inner ear and causes vertigo and balance problems.
Symptoms of middle ear infections include:
Symptoms of swimmers ear include:
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Let Amory Urgent Care Treat Your Ear Infection Quickly
Once you have a physician treat your ear infection, itll start clearing up immediately. Theres no reason to wait it out and risk the infection worsening.
If you have any of the warning signs discussed above, get to your physician right away.
Amory Urgent Care provides fast, high-quality medical care seven days a week. Contact us today schedule an appointment.
Types Of Ear Infections
A middle ear infection is the most common bacterial infection in children. It develops when the connection between your childs middle ear and throat becomes inflamed and fills with fluid where bacteria grow. Colds and allergies increase the likelihood that this tube gets clogged and infected.
An outer ear infection, commonly known as swimmers ear, affects the skin of the ear canal or outer ear and develops when bacteria grow in the moisture of the ear. Children with eczema and seborrheic dermatitis, also called cradle cap, have a weaker skin barrier and are more likely to develop an outer ear infection, as well as those who spend a lot of time in the water.
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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 swimmers 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 popping.
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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Five Tips To Help Relieve Ear Infection Symptoms At Home
If your little one is cranky, unusually fussy and tugging at his or her ear or is feverish and having difficulty sleeping, chances are it may be due to an ear infection.
Ear infections in children often go away on their own or in some cases with antibiotic treatment. The challenge for many parents is knowing what to do, what to watch for and when to call their pediatrician.
Five out of six children experience an ear infection by the time they are 3 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health. The odds are that your child will have an ear infection before kindergarten.
What causes an ear infection?
Ear infections can be caused by either bacteria or a virus, often following a cold. The common cold can cause the middle ear to become inflamed and fluid to build up behind the eardrum. The Eustachian tube, which connects the ears, nose and throat, can also become swollen.
Children are more susceptible to ear infections than adults because they have shorter and narrower Eustachian tubes, and it is easier for germs to reach the middle ear and for fluid to get trapped there, says Kara Hutton, MD, a pediatrician at Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo. Babies and children also have weaker immune systems, so it is more difficult for their bodies to fight an infection.
The onset of ear infections is often on day three of a cold. Ear infections peak at age 6 months to 2 years, and are a common problem until age 8, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
You Experience Added Symptoms
If you experience any of these symptoms with your ear infection, youll want to visit a doctor as soon as you can.
- Its hard to move parts of your face like normal
- Swelling under or behind the ear
- Knots forming around the ear
- Discharge draining from the ear
These symptoms may mean your ear infection is much worse than normal cases. If your child has any of these symptoms, its even more important to get them to a doctor quickly.
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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.