Ear infection is an uncomfortable reality for babies and young children and their parents/caregivers. Just like bronchitis treatment is a major reason adults go to a doctor, ear infection sends parents to a pediatrician.
Middle Ear Infection
An ear infection is actually an infection of the inner ear, although the outer ear turns red if the patient has been pulling on it.
A middle ear infection happens when bacteria or a virus, usually from a cold or flu, gets past the eustachian tube that leads to the eardrum and beyond to the middle ear. This is normally the empty space between the eardrum and three tiny ear bones involved in hearing. It can easily get inflamed and fill up with fluids.
Children are more likely to get middle ear infections because their eustachian tubes are shorter, making it easier for bacteria and viruses to reach the middle ear. Adults and older children can also get ear infections, although they are affected less often.
Ear Infection Treatment
Sometimes, a mild earache, with or without ear infection, will clear up on its own. Few people (and parents) will tolerate one for more than a day or two, and seek earache treatment.
Mild ear infections will clear up on their own without treatment, but an earache with fever, lasting more than a couple of days, indicates a more serious infection. If appropriate, the doctor will prescribe antibiotic ear drops. More often, pain relief and warm compresses ease the symptoms and allow the infection to clear on its own.
Swimmers Ear Treatment
A person with swimmer’s ear will notice an annoying itch inside the ear. Treatment depends on how severe it is and includes cleaning out the middle ear so it can dry, and applying steroid, antifungal, or antibiotic ear drops.