Get Treatment for Your Ear Infection in Bradenton Today
If you are suffering from an ear infection, it can be helpful to learn more about the illness to better understand how you got the infection, its symptoms, and what you can do about it.
Is an Ear Infection Contagious?
When a bacterial or viral infection affects the middle ear, this is called an ear infection. The middle ear is a section of your ear behind your ear drum. Inflammation and fluid builds up in your middle ear, causing pain.
Ear infections are either chronic or acute. While they’re usually painful, they don’t last very long. Chronic ear infections can be recurrent or last longer than a normal ear infection. These constant or long-lasting ear infections can cause damage to your middle or inner ear.
Ear infections are not contagious. However, they normally accompany other problems like a cold or the flu, which are definitely contagious. If you’re experiencing an ear infection and other symptoms, getting checked out by your doctor should be your first step. They’ll be able to help you determine a course of action to get you back on your feet.
What Causes an Ear Infection?
There are many different causes of ear infection, but in simple terms, an ear infection happens when the Eustachian tubes are swollen or blocked. The Eustachian tubes run from each ear to the back of the throat.
Risk Factors: Ear Infections in Children and Babies
Children and babies have smaller Eustachian tubes, so ear infections are much more common. Bottle-fed children and children who use pacifiers are also more at risk than breast-fed children.
Altitude changes, climate changes, exposure to cigarette smoke, and recent illness, like a cold or the flu, can put you more at risk for developing an ear infection.
Ear Infection Symptoms: How Do I Know if I Have an Ear Infection?
While you can have an ear infection in both ears, they’re more common in just one. If you have a double ear infection, the pain is usually more severe.
If you’re suffering from chronic ear infections, these symptoms might not be as severe as those with acute ear infections.
The symptoms for an ear infection include:
- pain and discomfort in one or both ears,
- persistent pressure,
- redness in and around ear,
- pus-like secretion,
- and hearing loss.
How are Ear Infections Diagnosed?
Thankfully, ear infections are simple to diagnose. Your doctor will examine your ears with an otoscope (a tool that has a light and magnifying lens) and will look for redness, pus-like fluid, fluid draining, eardrum perforation, or a collapsed ear drum.
If your ear infection looks to be advanced, your doctor may collect a sample during your visit and test it to see which antibiotic will work best.
They may also call for a CT scan of your head to see if the infection has spread. If you have chronic ear infections, a hearing test may also be performed.
Ear Infection Treatments
Because ear infections can range from mild to intense, there are a lot of different treatment options. Mild ear infections may clear up without intervention, but more serious ones might require antibiotics.
If you’re experiencing a mild ear infection, applying a warm cloth to your ear and taking pain medication until it goes away may help.
However, if your ear infection pain is more intense, or the symptoms don’t clear up after trying home remedies, you may be given prescription ear drops or an antibiotic.
If your young child is suffering from an ear infection, it’s best to take them to the doctor no matter how mild the symptoms are.
If your ear infection was caused by enlarged adenoids, surgery may be required to remove them. Surgery may also be an option if your ear infection is persistent.
What Can be Expected in the Long Term?
Because ear infections can clear up without interference, there might not be anything to worry about in the long term. Speaking with your doctor initially, following their orders, then following up with them either by phone or in-person is often all you need to do. In order to help keep yourself healthy overall and to prevent a reoccurrence of and ear infection, it is best to ensure you are also seeing your doctor or clinic for routine medical appointments.
In the case of a persistent ear infection, a surgery may be performed where tubes are placed in your ears to allow the fluid to drain out. If you experience hearing loss, speech or language delay (especially in children), a ruptured eardrum, mastoiditis, or meningitis, you should follow up with a doctor as soon as possible. These complications are rare but serious.
How Can Ear Infections be Prevented?
Ear infections are often caused by other problems, like a cold or the flu. To avoid a cold or the flu, wash your hands often and avoid touching your face. Avoiding secondhand smoke and keeping your vaccinations up to date are also good ways to avoid ear infection.
Where Can I Get Treatment for my Ear Infection?
If you’re looking for a low cost local clinic to help diagnose and treat your ear infection, Manasota Minor Care Clinic is here for you. Your care is our number one priority. We offer little to no wait time, so you’re back to your everyday life before you know it. We’re located in Bradenton, Florida and serve the Manatee and Sarasota counties. Contact us online or at 941-756-1253 for more information.
Se habla Español.