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Ear Infection: Critical Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

ear infection

An ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear, the air-filled space behind our eardrum. Ear infections generally heal and clear up on their own, but treatment is needed if acute pain arises. Antibiotics are usually used to treat these infections without any complications. However, people who are prone to having multiple ear infections can face severe complications, especially hearing problems or worse. Learn all about ear infections in this article.

Symptoms of Ear Infection

Signs of Ear Infections in Adults:

  • Sharp, sudden pain in the ear or a dull, non-stop earache
  • Warm drainage from the ear canal
  • Ears feeling full
  • Nausea
  • Muffled or dull hearing

Signs of Ear Infections in Children:

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Irritability
  • Tugging at the ear
  • Fever
  • Ear drainage
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Crying during the night

What Causes Ear Infections?

When one of your eustachian tubes swells or gets blocked, an ear infection occurs. This causes the fluid and pressure to build up in your middle ear. Causes for this blockage can include allergies, cold, infection in the sinus, excessive mucus, smoking, swollen or infected adenoids (tissue near your tonsils that catch harmful bacteria and viruses), alterations in air pressure.

How to Treat an Ear Infection

Treatment for ear infections depends on the patient’s age, the urgency of the infection, whether the condition is acute or long-term, etc. For instance, with mild ear infections, your healthcare provider may decide to wait to see if the infection heals on its own before prescribing an antibiotic.

For suspected bacterial ear infections, antibiotics can be prescribed to treat infections, as well as other pain medication and decongestants to help you or your child deal with pain and fever. For older children, your healthcare professional will want to wait for about three days before administering antibiotics to see if the infection clears up on its own. Antibiotics can be started immediately if you or your child’s ear infections are serious.

What Can Be Done to Avoid Ear Infections?

The following habits can help you avoid getting an ear infection:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid overcrowded places
  • Avoid smoking as well as secondhand smoke
  • Avoid pacifiers with infants and small children
  • Ensure that immunizations are up to date

If you experience any of the following signs, call your doctor right away.

  • Your child develops a stiff neck
  • Your child is sluggish, has weak responses, or is inconsolable.

At MI Express Care, we give expert counseling with the best healthcare services to provide the highest quality evidence-based treatment for you and your child. If you or someone you know has any symptoms of an ear infection, contact us right away.

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