Posts for tag: Ear Infection
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.
You woke up with an intense and persistent pain in your ear. All sound is muffled and it feels like your ear is stuffed with cotton. These symptoms are likely due to an ear infection. While ear infections can happen to anyone, children are particularly prone to them. In fact, approximately three out of four children will deal with at least one ear infection by age 3.
An ear infection usually affects the middle ear. This is known as an infection of the otitis media, in which fluid and mucus block the tubes of the ears. This is why you’re having trouble hearing. While it’s easy to be able to describe symptoms you’re experiencing, it isn’t always easy for children, particularly little ones, to be able to tell you that their ear hurts.
So, how can you tell whether or not your child might have an ear infection? You’ll have to look out for:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Increased crying, irritability, and fussiness
- Trouble sleeping
- Crying when lying down to sleep
- Balance issues
- Not hearing or responding to voices or sounds
If your child is displaying these symptoms it’s important to bring them in to see their otolaryngologist who will be able to examine the ear and determine whether there is an infection.
The good news is that many ear infections will go away on their own; however, our ENT doctors understand that sometimes the pain can be severe and unbearable, and you may need something to ease the pain until the infection goes away. We can certainly prescribe the right pain reliever if over-the-counter options aren’t working. In some cases, we may need to prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.
Even though you may want to wait out an ear infection before bringing your child in, it’s important that you do visit your child’s otolaryngologist as soon as possible if their ear infection is accompanied by:
- Loss of hearing
- Discharge or blood coming from the ear
- High fever
- Severe drowsiness
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
If your child is under 6 months old it’s important that you bring them in right away if you suspect that they have an ear infection. Otherwise, children dealing with minor symptoms that are over the age of 6 months old can often be treated with simple at-home care.
If you are unsure whether or not you should bring yourself or your child into the office, give our ENT practice a call and let us know the symptoms. We will be able to determine whether you will need immediate care or whether we should wait a couple days to see if the infection gets better on its own.