Are you worried that your ear pain could be a sign of an infection? Ear infections are very common and can be caused by viral and bacterial infections. Ralph E. Bassett, MD, is here to explain ear infection symptoms and treatment options. Dr. Bassett, your ear doctor in Sun City West, and his colleagues, Drs. Sanford Hoffman and Paul Borgesen, treat ear infections and other ear, nose and throat problems.
What is an ear infection?
An ear infection also called acute otitis media, causes inflammation in the middle ear, which is located behind the eardrum. Fluids normally drain out of your ear through the eustachian tube, a passage that leads to the upper throat and back of the nasal cavity. If you have a viral or bacterial infection, the eustachian tube lining starts to swell and fills up with mucus, which prevents drainage and causes pain and pressure.
What are the symptoms of an ear infection?
Pain is the primary symptom of an ear infection, although you may also notice trouble hearing, pressure in the affected ear and fluid drainage from the ear. Children are more prone to developing ear infections because they have shorter eustachian tubes. Common symptoms of ear infections in young children, in addition to pain, include:
- Pulling on the ear
- Trouble sleeping
- Balance issues
- Drainage from the ear
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty hearing
- Fever of 100 or higher
How is an ear infection treated?
Many ear infections improve on their own in a week or two. In some cases, antibiotics can be helpful. When your doctor makes the decision to prescribe antibiotics, they'll consider a variety of factors, including age, duration of the symptoms and the presence of a fever. As you or your child recover from an ear infection, using warm compresses and taking over-the-counter pain medications can help reduce pain. If your child suffers from chronic ear infections, your doctor may recommend ear tubes. These tubes help prevent fluid from accumulating in the ear.
Concerned about ear pain or another ear, nose and throat issue? Call Ralph E. Bassett, MD, your Sun City West ear doctor, at (623) 975-1600 and schedule an appointment today.