Infections with the ear may be more common in children than adults, but adults are also prone to these infections. Unlike infections in children’s ears, which are mostly mild and pass rapidly, infections in adults’ ears are also indicators of a more severe health issue. If you are an adult with an ear infection, you should observe the symptoms closely and see the doctor
There are 3 significant forms of ear infections. The three main parts of the ear correspond: inner, middle, and outer.
Inner Ear Infection
A disorder diagnosed as an infection of the inner ear may, in reality, be a case of inflammation, rather than an actual infection. Inner ear disease can be a symptom of a more severe illness, for example, meningitis.
Middle Ear Infection
Often known as otitis media, an infection of the middle ear. It is caused by fluid trapped behind the eardrum, which causes the bulge of the eardrum. You can feel fullness in your ear along with an earache and have some fluid drainage from the affected ear. The media of otitis will come with a fever. You can also have difficulty hearing before the infection begins to clear up.
Outer Ear Infection
The outer ear is that part of your ear that stretches from the eardrum to the outside of your head. An infection with the outer ear is also known as otitis externa. Infection with the outer ear also begins with an itchy rash.
Symptoms Of Ear Infection
Some of the symptoms common to ear infections include:
- Slight pain or discomfort inside the ear
- A sense of pressure that remains within the ear
- Fussy in young babies
- Ear drainage like pus
- Lost hearing
These symptoms may continue or may well come and go. Symptoms may grow in one or both ears. Double ear infection (infection in both ears) typically makes the pain more severe.
Symptoms of recurrent ear infection can be less apparent than those of acute ear infections.
Children under six months with signs of fever or ear infection should see a physician. Always seek medical attention if your child has a fever above 102 ° F (39 ° C) or extreme pain in his or her ear.
Causes Of Ear Infection
Let us have a look at the causes of ear infection and get to understand them to the core:
Middle Ear Infection
Infection with the middle ear frequently originates from a cold or other breathing problem. The infection passes through the Eustachian tubes to one or both of the ears. These tubes control the pressure of air within the ear. They bind to your back and neck. An infection can irritate and cause swelling in the Eustachian tubes. The swelling will prevent them from fully draining out. As fluid cannot drain inside these tubes, it builds up against your eardrum.
Outer Ear Infection
Swimmer’s ear is also considered an outer ear infection. That’s how it always starts after swimming or bathing because of the water that stays in your ear. The moisture becomes a bacterial breeding ground. If your outer ear is scratched or you irritate the outer lining of your ear by sticking your fingers or other items in your ear, you can get a bacterial infection
Treatment Of Ear Infection
Ear infections typically clear themselves up, so treatment can begin with pain control and close monitoring of the condition. But ear infection and severe cases in infants are likely to need antibiotic care. Amoxicillin is the antibiotic of choice for treating acute otitis media in non-penicillin-allergic patients.
The antibiotic should be taken exactly as prescribed and for as long as the course is over. When the antibiotic course is over, babies or children should be taken back to the doctor or health nurse to ensure that the infection has cleared properly. An earlier doctor return visit could be appropriate if your child’s symptoms have not changed. The health care professional may want to try another antibiotic.
Self-treatment after seeing your doctor can help alleviate symptoms, including:
- Keep a moist wet face cloth or bag of wheat against the infected ear
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain and fever relief
- Lying against your pillow with the affected ear or sitting in bed
- Wash the outside ear gently with soap and a face cloth to clear any discharge
- Maintaining a minimal background noise in the house.
It would help if you never used cotton buds to clean your ears or the ears of your infant or put something in the ear that a doctor has not recommended, as the eardrum is sensitive and can easily be harmed.
How To Spot An Ear Infection In Baby?
Babies and babies don’t have the language skills to communicate with you when their ear is hurting verbally, so it’s essential to know and monitor for common symptoms of ear infection.
Touching The Ear
For several occasions, children might be tugging at their ears, and one of those occasions may be an ear infection. Ear infections cause ear pain and discomfort, and children may pull on their ears to relieve the pain. Babies below one’s age may reach their ears because they have trouble finding and transmitting the pain to the ear.
Not Able To Sleep
When a child lies down with an ear infection, it triggers a change in middle ear pressure. The shift in pressure is painful and unpleasant, making it more difficult for children to sleep or lay down flat.
When a child has an ear infection, fluid builds up and remains in the middle ear, which can cause a temporary hearing loss. They may be unresponsive to sounds for infants and toddlers who cannot speak. Older kids could ask “what? “Most often, throughout their ear infection.
The virus causing the ear infection frequently affects the gastrointestinal tract and disturbs the stomach. Children can develop diarrhea, vomiting, or decreased appetite while they’re ill. Ear infections also hinder chewing and swallowing due to pressure changes. If you note a drop in your child’s appetite, look for additional symptoms that could suggest an ear infection.
Many ear infections go away when antibiotics are not used. Symptoms usually improve within a few days, with one to two weeks of complete recovery. If symptoms do not improve after a day or two, call your doctor though. Your health care provider will advise you on a recovery plan or prescribe an antibiotic to help cure the infection.
If your child shows the signs of an ear infection that isn’t going away, make an appointment to see your ENT specialist.