Ear pain can have multiple causes and treatments, but most commonly, it’s related to a classic middle ear infection, especially among children. There are several causes of this infection, such as respiratory infections. Symptoms can be misleading, but as long as pains occur, chances are the ear is affected. In 85% of all cases, the issue is caused by three specific bacteria. Luckily, they can be treated without too much hassle. It is, however, important to properly diagnose the infection before finding a treatment.
Diagnosing an Ear Infection
Seeking medical help is usually your first step. The specialist will most likely inquire about the symptoms, so try to be specific. Also, your medical history regarding ear infections can be helpful. The doctor will examine the ear and aim to find a small reddish bump – nothing but inflammation. At the same time, specialists can take a look at the tympanum and determine whether it is prominent, red or broken, not to mention the accumulation of pus and secretions.
If the patient has secretions for more than three months (you should certainly not wait so long) or you suspect the loss of hearing, auditive tests can determine the severity of the problem. Normally, the infection can heal in no time with antibiotics. Eventually, secretions come out, and the tympanum will heal by itself within a few weeks. If it doesn’t work, the doctor can put a small hole in the tympanum and absorb the secretions. Don’t even think about doing it yourself though.
Treating an Ear Infection
The classic middle ear infection treatment can be done at home. There are several measures to ameliorate symptoms and kill the bacteria. Keep in mind that up to 80% of all ear infections heal by themselves within days only. Therefore, there are situations when the patient will just have to keep an eye on the symptoms while taking medication. Antibiotics can only be prescribed by doctors and only in severe conditions. Other than that, don’t take them by ear and avoid them due to their adverse reactions. Instead, there are a few over-the-counter drugs that will ameliorate pain and fever.
The situation is more problematic if the symptoms don’t disappear within four days, especially the fever. This is when antibiotics kick in. The treatment takes about five days, while symptoms will be reduced within the first 48 hours.
Applying heat on the ear can be beneficial in the ear infection treatment. You can use warm compresses or cotton tampons.
Preventing Ear Infections
Most commonly, ear infections affect children. Preventing this infection is much better than treating it. Avoid exposing your kid to tobacco smoke, but also keep them away from group meetings. If one kid is infected, chances are at least some of their friends will contract the infection.
When ear infections affect babies, the prevention is all about the way you feed your little one. Normally, dummies should be used after six months. Plus, if you choose to use bottles instead of breastfeeding, make sure your baby is not placed horizontally.
As a short conclusion, ear infections are familiar and easy to deal with. Home-based treatments are usually the best, yet specialist help is recommended if the situation aggravates. Don’t attempt diagnosing the patient by yourself if the infection seems severe.