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How do I Treat an Ear Infection?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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There are several treatment options for ear infections, depending on the patient's age and the nature of the infection. Many ear infections are actually simply ear aches which may clear up on their own after one to two days, and this fact has been reflected in guideline issued by many medical organizations. You should seek medical care for an ear infection if it is accompanied by high fever or extreme pain, but you may be able to care for the problem at home if the infection is mild.

Some common ear infections symptoms include pain in the ear, which can become excruciating, along with dizziness, a discharge from the ears, nausea, difficulty hearing, the sensation of a ringing noise, or a mild fever. These symptoms can indicate an actual infection in the ear, caused by bacteria, but they are also linked with pressure on the ear from impacted sinuses, and sometimes people will develop ear aches after heavy crying, vomiting, or sudden altitude changes. The sure sign of an ear infection is the presence of fluid behind the ear drum, which can be determined by a doctor.

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Ear infections can be extremely painful, leading people to feel like they should do something about the situation. The best treatment for ear infections is to take a wait and see approach, and to offer pain management to the patient. Aspirin can reduce pain and swelling, and many drug stores have over the counter drugs for ear aches which will ease the pain. A doctor can also prescribe more serious analgesics if the pain is extreme. The patient should also be kept hydrated, and encouraged to rest. Within 24 to 48 hours, the problem may be entirely resolved, whether it is a true ear infection or simply an ear ache.

In cases where symptoms persist or seem to grow worse, a doctor may decide to prescribe antibiotics for an ear infection. Antibiotics are prescribed with care, however, as each course of antibiotics makes the patient more prone to serious ear infections in the future. In patients under six months of age, antibiotics will be prescribed in all patients with signs of an ear infection, whether or not the infection is confirmed. In older patients, however, the doctor will perform an exam to confirm the presence of infection before offering antibiotics. Even with antibiotics, pain management is usually still necessary in the first few days, because the infection and accompanying buildup of fluid will not clear immediately.

Patients who experience chronic ear infections may be candidates for preventative measures, which can include preventative antibiotics or surgical procedures to promote drainage from the ears so that pressure from infections cannot build up. A doctor can discuss these options with the patient and the family.

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nanny3
Post 2

It is good to know that there are other factors that can cause ear pain other than an ear infection.

I’ve always heard that if a baby’s face or neck is scratched close to their ears, they probably have an infection. They say that the scratches come from the child’s nails as they tug at their hurting ears while they sleep.

However, my daughter was complaining of ear pain, tugging at her ears and even crying over them. She was presenting all symptoms of an ear infection but when I took her to the doctor, there was no fluid behind the ear drum.

What I didn’t know was that pressure from sinuses could cause the same symptoms! That is, until I read this article! What a relief!

JessiC
Post 1

I thought that it was typically children who had to have tubes put in their ears for constant ear infections. This, however, isn’t the case.

My sister is about 25 or 26, and her doctor is actually recommending that she have tubes put into her ears. She’s always had ear infections for as long as I can remember. If she even thinks about getting in a pool or the ocean, she gets one.

I suppose she may have needed them all along, and for some reason the problem was just overlooked. She's just to a point where she's begging for ear infection relief.

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