How to Treat a Middle Ear Infection
A middle ear infection can be a severe medical condition if left untreated or when it spreads to surrounding tissues. During these cases, surgery is required to repair the eardrum. In rare cases, the infection spreads to the brain or the surrounding membranes. In some cases, an infection can even cause bone damage. If this happens, the infection can progress to mastoiditis, leading to cysts containing pus.
The most important thing to do if you suspect your child has a middle ear infection is to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor. Viruses or bacteria can cause middle ear infections, and the proper treatment can be effective. While a viral infection usually clears up on its own, a bacterial infection can be more severe and can last for days. People with weakened immune systems and those with allergies are especially susceptible to developing ear infections.
A virus or bacteria often causes infections in the middle ear, which are more common in infants and young children. However, children over six years of age are less likely to suffer from these infections. In addition, children who are breastfed often have better immunity than those who are bottle-fed. Some risk factors include using propping devices to feed a baby while lying down. Also, passive smoking can make it easier for a child to contract a middle ear infection.
Antibiotics are a standard treatment for middle ear infections. These medications can be taken orally or as ear drops. You can also use cold or warm compresses to reduce the swelling. If the symptoms don’t improve within 48 to 72 hours, it’s best to visit a doctor. You may need a CT scan or MRI to determine the cause if your symptoms persist.
Chronic illnesses like asthma and allergies can lead to middle ear infections. These diseases can also cause enlarged adenoids and block the eustachian tube. If the tube is blocked, fluid cannot drain from the ear, resulting in pain, swelling, and infection. The infection may last for several weeks or months.
Antibiotics are generally not needed for this infection. However, some children may be prescribed short courses of antibiotics. Most children improve within a few days. However, antibiotics can have unwanted side effects, so it is best to talk to your child’s doctor before using them. Remember to read the instructions carefully and always follow the advice provided by your child’s doctor.
Untreated middle ear infections can cause other health problems. The infection may spread to nearby tissues and may not respond to antibiotics. In addition, it may cause a pus-filled cyst to form. In rare cases, the infection may even affect the membranes surrounding the brain. A doctor may recommend surgery to repair the damaged area if the infection is severe enough.
One of the most common treatments for middle ear infections is antibiotics. These are typically prescribed for a 10-day course, although some children can take a shorter course of antibiotics. Other treatment options for antibiotics that do not cure the infection include ear tubes and surgery. Ear tubes drain fluid from the middle ear and help equalize pressure in the ear.
A head CT scan may be needed to determine if the infection has spread beyond the middle ear. If the bacteria responsible for the infection have spread, antibiotics may be prescribed for an extended period. These medications may be given orally or intravenously. In addition, the doctor may use antibiotic ear drops to relieve pain if the ear is damaged. In severe cases, the doctor may remove tissue inside the ear and perform surgery.
Most middle ear infections clear on their own within three to five days. In the interim, painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol are advisable to ease the discomfort. The doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if the pain persists or the infection is very severe. The infection usually occurs due to a virus or a cold that has weakened the ear’s drainage system.
If you’re concerned that your child may be suffering from a middle ear infection, you can take a few steps to lessen the chances. One way is to avoid exposing your child to tobacco smoke and to keep their vaccinations up-to-date. The next step is to keep them out of public places where they can be exposed to bacteria and tobacco smoke.
First, you should take your child to the doctor as soon as possible. A GP will be able to give you a course of antibiotics and prescribe the appropriate ear drops. It would help if However, you also keep in mind that antibiotics can cause side effects, so it is advisable to read the medication leaflet thoroughly and take advice from a pharmacist.
Another way to prevent ear infections is to avoid allergies. If your child has allergies, it can cause swelling and inflammation in the eustachian tubes, preventing ear fluid drainage. This can lead to fluid build-up in the middle ear, causing pain and infection. Fortunately, most middle ear infections clear up within three days.