Find out what to do if you or your child develops an ear infection
Some ear infections can be downright painful, while others can go unnoticed (but still cause complications in the long run). It’s essential to spot the symptoms of an ear infection and recognize the signs that it’s time to turn to an ENT doctor for treatment. Here’s what you should know about ear infections,
What Are the Different Kinds of Ear Infections?
The ear is made up of the middle, outer and inner ear. Ear infections can occur in another of these three parts, but middle ear infections (otitis media) are prevalent. While a virus causes most ear infections, ear infections can also result from bacteria or fungi. Most children will develop an ear infection by the age of three.
What Are the Classic Signs of an Ear Infection?
Could you be dealing with an ear infection? Here are the telltale signs,
- Ear pain (often intense and throbbing)
- Pressure or fullness in the ear
- Limited hearing or hearing loss
- Ringing or humming in the ear
- Drainage from the ear
- Loss of balance
If your child is too young to tell you that they have an ear infection, it’s essential that you’re able to spot the warning signs,
- Pulling or tugging at the ear
- Pus or drainage coming from their ear
- Redness or swelling
- Increased fussiness or clinginess
- Crying or irritability that gets worse when lying down
- Trouble sleeping
Recognize these signs? If so, it’s a good idea to call your ENT doctor.
When Should I Turn to an ENT Doctor?
When it comes to an ear infection, you may be able to take a wait-and-see approach; however, if your earache is severe, you may want to turn to a doctor who can ease your symptoms until the body fights the infection. Of course, you may want to turn to an ENT doctor if,
- You notice flaky skin along with the symptoms above (these can be signs of a bacterial infection)
- An itchy ear along with the symptoms above (itching is often a sign of fungal infection)
- You develop an ear infection after swimming, water sports or if you’re living in a tropical or subtropical climate (this puts you at risk for fungal ear infections)
- You notice changes in hearing or hearing loss
- You are dealing with severe pain
- Your symptoms don’t improve within three days
- You develop a fever over 100.4 F
- You or your child is dealing with recurring infections
How Is an Ear Infection Treated?
Antibiotics or antifungals will be prescribed to treat the infection if you are dealing with a bacterial or fungal infection. These types of infections will not clear up on their own. The body will fight ear infections caused by viruses; however, we can still provide you with ways to ease pain and manage symptoms until the infection goes away.
If you’re dealing with a severe earache or your child is dealing with multiple ear infections a year, it’s time to turn to an ENT doctor that can provide you with the specialized, custom treatment you need.