People can get ear infections at any age, but they're especially common in children. If you or your child has an earache or symptoms of an ear infection, contact your local PrimeMD office in North Columbus, Newark, Lancaster, Westerville, Kenton, Marion, Wilmington, Dublin, or New Albany, Ohio. The knowledgeable medical professionals can swiftly diagnose your condition and provide treatments to relieve the pain. To find out how PrimeMD can help, call your nearest office today or book an appointment online.
Ear infections (acute otitis media) arise when a virus or bacteria enters the middle ear behind your eardrum and begins to multiply. Ear infections often set in when you have a cold or flu or any condition that causes swelling of the nasal passages and throat.
Your middle ear is a space in which there are tiny bones that enable you to hear. Eustachian tubes connect the middle ear to the back of your throat. These narrow channels regulate the air pressure in your ear and help fluids to drain away.
If anything blocks the eustachian tubes, fluid can't drain, which creates a perfect environment for harmful bacteria and viruses to breed. The infected fluid and resulting inflammation can cause severe pain. Children typically get ear infections more than adults and often become distressed at the intense pain.
In addition to severe pain in the affected ear that radiates into the head, ear infections can cause problems like:
The ear pain is likely to be worse when lying down. Young children who have ear infections are often weepy and irritable and may pull at their ear or keep rubbing it. They can also develop a fever. Adults may have more of an earache than severe pain.
Ear infections can often resolve themselves without treatment, thanks to your immune system. However, there are times when contacting your provider at PrimeMD is wise, such as when:
You should also seek advice if you have a young child with a respiratory tract infection as well as an ear infection.
Initially, you can use over-the-counter pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications to ease discomfort and inflammation in the ear. If you need to visit PrimeMD for treatment, your provider may prescribe antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Providing there's no damage to the eardrum, anesthetic drops can help with the pain.
Your child might require a myringotomy procedure to drain fluid from the affected ear. Your provider creates a tiny hole in the eardrum and inserts a tympanostomy tube to drain the fluid. The tube can stay in place for 4-18 months or longer, depending on whether your child continues to need it or not.
If you're prone to earaches or you think your child has an ear infection, call PrimeMD and schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.