Archive for the ‘Ear Infection’ Category

How are Ear Infections Treated?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

How Are Ear Infections Treated?

Most mild ear infections clear up without intervention. Some of the following methods are effective in relieving the symptoms of a mild ear infection:

  • applying a warm cloth to the affected ear
  • taking over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • using over-the-counter or prescription ear drops to relieve pain
  • taking over-the-counter decongestants such as pseudoephedrine.

If your symptoms get worse or do not improve, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. He or she may prescribe antibiotics if your ear infection is chronic or does not appear to be improving. If a child under the age of 2 presents with ear infection symptoms, a doctor will likely give him or her antibiotics as well. It is important to finish your entire course of antibiotics if they are prescribed.

Surgery may be an option if your ear infection is not eliminated with the usual medical treatments or if you have many ear infections over a short period of time. Most often, tubes are placed in the ears to allow fluid to drain out. In cases that involve enlarged adenoids, surgical removal of the adenoids may be necessary.

What Can Be Expected in the Long Term?

Ear infections usually clear up without intervention, but they may recur. The following rare but serious complications may follow an ear infection:

  • hearing loss
  • speech or language delay in children
  • mastoiditis (an infection of the mastoid bone in the skull)
  • meningitis (a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord)
  • a ruptured ear drum

How Can Ear Infections Be Prevented?

The following practices have been proven to reduce the risk of ear infection:

  • washing your hands often
  • avoiding overly crowded areas
  • forgoing pacifiers with infants and small children
  • breast-feeding infants
  • avoiding secondhand smoke
  • keeping immunizations up-to-date

Ear Infections

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

 

An ear infection occurs when a bacterial or viral infection affects the middle ear—the sections of your ear just behind the eardrum. Ear infections can be painful because of inflammation and fluid build up in the middle ear.

Ear infections can be chronic or acute. Acute ear infections are painful but short in duration.Chronic ear infections do not clear up, or they recur many times. Chronic ear infections can cause permanent damage to the middle and inner ear.

What Causes an Ear Infection?

Ear infections occur when one of your Eustachian tubes becomes swollen or blocked and fluid builds up in your middle ear. Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run from each ear directly to the back of the throat. The causes of Eustachian tube blockage include:

  • allergies
  • colds
  • sinus infections
  • excess mucus
  • tobacco smoking
  • infected or swollen adenoids (tissue near your tonsils that trap harmful bacteria and viruses)

Risk Factors for Ear Infections

Ear infections occur most commonly in young children because they have short and narrow Eustachian tubes. Infants who are bottle-fed also have a higher incidence of ear infections than their breastfed counterparts. Other factors that increase the risk of developing an ear infection are:

  • altitude changes
  • climate changes
  • exposure to cigarette smoke
  • pacifier use
  • recent illness or ear infection

What Are the Symptoms of Ear Infections?

A few of the common symptoms of ear infections include:

  • mild pain or discomfort inside the ear
  • a feeling of pressure inside the ear that persists
  • fussiness in young infants
  • pus-like ear drainage
  • hearing loss

These symptoms might persist or come and go. Symptoms may occur in one or both ears. Chronic ear infection symptoms may be less noticeable than those of acute ear infections.

Children younger than six months who have a fever or ear infection symptoms should see a doctor. Always seek medical attention if your child has a fever higher than 102 degrees or severe ear pain.

How Are Ear Infections Diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your ears with an instrument called an otoscope that has a light and magnifying lens. Examination may reveal:

  • redness, air bubbles, or pus-like fluid inside the middle ear
  • fluid draining from the middle ear
  • a perforation in the eardrum
  • a bulging or collapsed eardrum

If your infection is advanced, your doctor may take a sample of the fluid inside your ear and test it to determine whether certain types of antibiotic resistant bacteria are present. He or she may also order a computed tomography (CT) scan of your head to determine if the infection has spread beyond the middle ear. Finally, you may need a hearing test, especially if you are suffering from chronic ear infections.

Remedies For Ear infections

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

The ear is divided into 3 parts – the outer, middle, and inner ear. Sound waves come into the outer (external) ear and hit the eardrum causing the eardrum to vibrate. Behind the eardrum, in the middle ear, are three tiny bones (ossicles) – the malleus, incus, and stapes. The vibrations pass from the eardrum to these middle ear bones. The bones then transmit the vibrations to the cochlea in the inner ear. The cochlea converts the vibrations to sound signals which are sent down the ear nerve to the brain which we ‘hear’.

This is because more than half of all cases of glue ear will resolve within three months and there is currently no medication that shortens the length of time the symptoms last.

To treat glue ear at home, wait a few weeks (and no more than three months) to see if the condition clears up on its own. If the condition persists, the patient should seek treatment from a physician.

Active prevention is the best approach. Minimising children’s exposure to cigarette smoking, overcrowded living situations, and other people with colds or ear infections reduces their susceptibility. Strengthen your child’s immune system with plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts in their diet. Steer them away from sugary drinks or sweets. Supplement Vitamin C or a kids’ multivitamin and mineral formula if they’re picky eaters.

In addition to time and medications, there are some alternative treatments that can be very effective in treating a glue ear condition.

Ear candling can help open the tubes to allow air to circulate in the middle ear by removing some fluids from the ear. Purchase an ear candling kit from a health food store. To candle ears, place the small end of the special “candle” onto the edge of the patient’s ear and light with a match. The candle will then work to pull fluids and excess wax from the ear.