Ear Infection – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments we should be aware of. In addition, an ear infection (acute otitis media) is most often a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the small vibrating bones of the ear. Children are more likely than adults to have ear infections.
Ear infections are often painful because of inflammation and fluid accumulation in the middle ear.
Because ear infections usually clear up on their own, treatment can begin with pain management and problem monitoring. The ear infection in infants and severe cases in general typically require antibiotic medications. Long-term problems with ear infections – persistent middle ear fluids, persistent infections or frequent infections – can cause hearing problems and other serious complications.
What Causes an Ear Infection?
An ear infection occurs when one of your Eustachian tubes becomes swollen or blocked, causing fluid to accumulate in your middle ear. Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run from each ear directly to the back of the throat. Causes of Eustachian tube blockage include:
Too much mucus.
Infected or swollen adenoids (tissue near your tonsils that trap harmful bacteria and viruses).
Changes in air pressure.
What are the Symptoms of Ear Infection?
Signs and symptoms of ear infection are usually rapid.
Common signs and symptoms in children include:
Ear pain, especially when lying down.
Pulling or pulling an ear.
Crying more than usual.
Acting more irritable than usual.
Difficulty hearing or responding to sounds.
Loss of balance.
Fever 100 F (38 C) or higher.
Draining fluid from the ear.
Loss of appetite.
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Common signs and symptoms in adults include:
Draining fluid from the ear.
How to Diagnose an Ear Infection?
Doctors need to know a person’s medical history to make a proper diagnosis. They will ask about any symptoms that have occurred as well as any medications a person takes.
The doctor may use an instrument called an otoscope to observe the eardrum and ear canal for signs of infection. This procedure may be accompanied by a small breath of air.
Doctors will check how the eardrum reacts by having air pushed against it, which can help diagnose a middle ear infection.
How to Treat an Ear Infection?
Ear infections usually go away on their own, so treatment can begin with pain management and close monitoring of the condition. However, ear infection in infants and severe cases will likely require antibiotic treatment. Amoxicillin is the antibiotic of choice for the treatment of acute otitis media in patients who are not allergic to penicillin.
The antibiotic should be taken exactly as directed and until the course has been completed. Babies or children should be taken back to the doctor or health nurse once the antibiotic course has been completed to confirm that the infection has been cleared correctly. A previous return visit to the doctor may be necessary if there has been no improvement in your child’s symptoms. The doctor may want to try a different antibiotic.
After seeing your doctor, self-treatment can help relieve symptoms, including:
Holding a warm damp face cloth or sack of wheat against the infected ear
Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain or fever.
Lying with the affected ear against the pillow or sitting on the bed
Gently wash the outer ear with soap and a face cloth to remove any discharge
Keep background noise at home to a minimum.
You should never use cotton buds to clean your baby’s ears or ears or put anything in the ear that has not been prescribed by a doctor, as the eardrum is delicate and can easily be damaged.
How to Prevent Ear Infection?
The risk of middle ear infection in can be reduced by keeping the rooms warm and dry, ensuring a smoke-free and breastfeeding environment for as long as possible (preferably more than six months). Showing older children how to blow their nose correctly can also help prevent ear infection . Vaccines for children should also be updated.
Taking precautions to avoid the flu will also reduce the risk of developing an ear infection . This can be accomplished by washing your hands frequently, not sharing eating and drinking utensils, covering your mouth when you sneeze, and getting a seasonal flu shot.
Using a nasal decongestant during a cold, flu, or sinus may also help prevent ear infection.