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Ear Infections: All You Need to Know

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An ear infection is an infection either in the middle, inner or outer ear. Both children and adults can get an infection in the ear, but it is more common among young children. 

Healthcare providers may prescribe the medicine to manage pain as the infection gets cured on its own. Based on the severity of the infection, antibiotics are prescribed to the patients.

Frequent recurrence of ear infections may lead to hearing problems.

To avoid complications, we should approach the healthcare provider whenever we get an ear infection.

Ear infections types

Different types of infections in the ear are based on the symptoms and conditions. The types of ear infections have been mentioned below:

Middle Ear Infection

Often bacteria and viruses cause infection in the middle ear. This type of infection is connected to colds and allergies. When we get a middle ear infection, our nasal passage and throat may swell.

The infection in the middle ear occurs when fluid builds up. It is also known as otitis media. When we get this infection, the ear becomes heavy and has pain.

The ear infection type may get worsen when the fluid drains from inside the ear.

Otitis Externa

Otitis externa is an outer ear infection. The infection spreads from the eardrum to the opening of the ear.

An itchy rash may be the beginning of an outer ear infection.

When the infection increases, we may suffer from pain, redness and swelling. When we have otitis externa, we should keep the ear dry.

Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is inflammation in the inner ear and is often caused by cold. Some common symptoms of this ear disease are dizziness and hearing loss.

Labyrinthitis normally goes automatically, but the healthcare provider may prescribe medicines to treat the symptoms.

Ear infections symptoms

We can anticipate the infection when we are aware of the symptoms. Although symptoms may vary, some are common among all patients.

Some of the common ear infection symptoms have been mentioned below:

Ear drainage

Yellow or white fluid discharge from the ear is one of the common ear infection symptoms. In most types of infection, the patient may experience drainage.

Pain 

Pain is present almost in all types of infections. But the severity of the pain may differ from person to person.

Pain is common both among children and adults.

Hearing loss

Nerves in the middle ear send signals to the brain through which we can hear.

The build-up of fluids near the eardrum may slow down the movement of the signal. It disrupts hearing.

High fever

The infection causes fever, and the temperature may go up to 100° F. Most children with ear infection experience fever.

Headache

Headache is another symptom of infection in the ear. Although it is not common among children, adults with the infection may often experience headaches.

Difficulty in swallowing food

When children have an infection in the ear, they find it difficult to swallow food as the pressure in the ear causes more pain.

Therefore, children with infections are not willing to eat food.

How to diagnose ear infections

The healthcare provider starts diagnosing ear infections with the help of an instrument called an otoscope. The provider examines the presence of redness, drainage of fluid, swelling etc.

If any of the symptoms are present, the healthcare provider may recommend going through the following tests:

Test of the fluid sample

The doctor may recommend testing the sample of the fluid in the ear. The doctor normally recommends such tests when the infection gets worsens.

Blood test

The recommendation of the blood test is to measure immunity.

The doctor recommends it to check whether the immunity is strong enough to fight against the bacteria and viruses in the ear or not.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

The doctor recommends a CT scan to examine the spread of the infection. The doctor will prescribe medicine based on the spread of the infection.

Hearing test

Ear infection often causes hearing loss. Therefore, the doctor also tests hearing power to check if the hearing capacity of the patient is well or not.

Tympanometry

Tympanometry helps measure the eardrum’s responses when it comes into contact with air pressure.

Ear infections causes

There are many ear infections causes. The primary reason for the infection is that fungal and viral bacteria infect different parts of the ear.

Swelling eustachian tubes

Eustachian tubes are connected from the middle ear to the throat. These tubes help to regulate pressure, refresh the air in the ear and drain secretions from the ear.

When eustachian tubes get swollen, the fluid build-up in the ear, which leads to ear infections.

Fluid build-up without any infection

Sometimes non-infectious blockage in the eustachian tube also causes it to be swollen. In such a situation, fluid builds up without any bacterial infection.

When the fluid gets infected, the infection occurs in the ear.

Prevention of ear infection

We can prevent infections in the ear with the help of the ideas mentioned below:

  • Keeping the ear dry after a shower
  • By avoiding smoking and staying in a smoke-free environment.
  • By taking vaccines
  • Preventing cold and flu
  • Avoiding allergies by taking medications

Ear infections treatment

The doctor may apply different treatment methods based on the age, severity and type of infection.

In case of mild symptoms, the doctor may prescribe normal medications and see whether the infection goes on its own or not. Otherwise, the doctor may apply the following treatment procedures:

Antibiotics

The doctor will prescribe antibiotics when the infection is caused by bacteria and lasts longer.

In case of severe infection also, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics. However, the doctor will observe for a few days before prescribing antibiotics.

Pain Killer

Even if, in most cases, the ear infection disappears on its own, the pain often annoys the patients. To cure the pain, the doctor prescribes painkillers. The doctor prescribes pain-relieving ear drops and other medications.

Conclusion

Ear infection often appears to be mild. Still, you should not take it lightly as it may become severe if we do not take good care. You should be aware of the symptoms and find the reason for the ear infection.

Based on the symptoms, we can understand whether the infection is mild or severe. If you notice any symptoms of severe infection, you should approach our healthcare providers immediately.

In case of an ear infection, we can visit the C K Birla Hospital and book an appointment with Dr Anil Kumar. It is one of the best hospitals that provide compassionate care and hassle-free treatment.

FAQs

1. How do I get rid of an infection in my ear?

We can eliminate infection by keeping our ears clean and dry. We should also follow some important steps to avoid cold.

2. Will an ear infection go away on its own?

Mild ear infections can go away on their own. But we may have to take medicine in case of severe infection.

3. Which beverages help during ear infections?

Ginger juice can help to cure ear infections as ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties.

4. When should I go to the doctor for this?

We should visit the doctor when we have a severe fever, headache, hearing problems or any other symptoms of severe infection.

5. How long can you leave an ear infection untreated?

In most cases, the middle ear infection clears within 3 to 5 days. When the infection does not clear on its own, we should opt for treatment.

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