Posts for tag: Ear Infection
You woke up with an intense and persistent pain in your ear. All sound is muffled and it feels like your ear is stuffed with cotton. These symptoms are likely due to an ear infection. While ear infections can happen to anyone, children are particularly prone to them. In fact, approximately three out of four children will deal with at least one ear infection by age 3.
An ear infection usually affects the middle ear. This is known as an infection of the otitis media, in which fluid and mucus block the tubes of the ears. This is why you’re having trouble hearing. While it’s easy to be able to describe symptoms you’re experiencing, it isn’t always easy for children, particularly little ones, to be able to tell you that their ear hurts.
So, how can you tell whether or not your child might have an ear infection? You’ll have to look out for:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Increased crying, irritability, and fussiness
- Trouble sleeping
- Crying when lying down to sleep
- Balance issues
- Not hearing or responding to voices or sounds
If your child is displaying these symptoms it’s important to bring them in to see their otolaryngologist who will be able to examine the ear and determine whether there is an infection.
The good news is that many ear infections will go away on their own; however, our ENT doctors understand that sometimes the pain can be severe and unbearable, and you may need something to ease the pain until the infection goes away. We can certainly prescribe the right pain reliever if over-the-counter options aren’t working. In some cases, we may need to prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.
Even though you may want to wait out an ear infection before bringing your child in, it’s important that you do visit your child’s otolaryngologist as soon as possible if their ear infection is accompanied by:
- Loss of hearing
- Discharge or blood coming from the ear
- High fever
- Severe drowsiness
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
If your child is under 6 months old it’s important that you bring them in right away if you suspect that they have an ear infection. Otherwise, children dealing with minor symptoms that are over the age of 6 months old can often be treated with simple at-home care.
If you are unsure whether or not you should bring yourself or your child into the office, give our ENT practice a call and let us know the symptoms. We will be able to determine whether you will need immediate care or whether we should wait a couple days to see if the infection gets better on its own.
Otitis media—that's the medical term for a middle ear infection. While the ailment more commonly plagues young children, ear infections can impact teens and adults, as well, with tobacco smoke, having a cold or flu, and being prone to allergies all being risk factors for repeat episodes. At Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians in Sun City West, AZ, your team of four otolaryngologists work with patients to diagnose, treat, and prevent this uncomfortable problem. Read below to learn more about ear infections!
Symptoms of ear infections
Ear infections vary widely in intensity and in the symptoms they create. Signs may include:
- Sore throat
- A feeling of fullness in the affected ear
- Drop in hearing
- Fluid behind the eardrum
- Perforation of the eardrum, or tympanic membrane, in severe cases
Diagnosing ear infections
Your ear doctors in Sun City West, AZ, have the expertise to recognize otitis media, and they can make the latest in treatment options available for you. When you come to Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians, your doctor will review your health history and symptoms, as well as examine your ear with a lighted otoscope. This instrument enables the doctor to see into your ear canal and to observe any inflammation, drainage, and bulging of the eardrum. They may also blow a gentle puff of air onto the ear drum or perform a painless test called a tympanogram to note how well your eardrum moves.
Treating ear infections
With a confirmed diagnosis, your treatment may include:
- Antibiotics and pain medication
- Decongestants and/or steroidal medications (to reduce inflammation)
- Tympanostomy tubes to relieve pressure behind the ear drum (used for chronic otitis media)
Ear tubes, while more common for children, may also help adults who have repeated ear infections. These super-thin plastic tubes create an opening in the eardrum which alleviates pressure build-up due to fluid. Adults and teens may be able to have these placed in the office, but children require hospital placement and anesthesia.
Preventing ear infections
Frankly, some people get more ear infections than others do. Additionally, children, with their frequent colds and more horizontally-oriented eustachian tubes (an anatomical canal between the middle ear and the throat), get ear infections more easily.
While it can be difficult to avoid all ear infections, you may try these strategies to decrease how many you or a loved one get:
- Avoid tobacco smoke
- Control your allergies
- Get treatment for a suspected infection as soon as possible
At Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians, we want you to know that otitis media can be treated successfully and if chronic, managed properly to avoid sick days away from school or work, as well as prevent more serious health complications (such as hearing loss). If you think you have an ear infection, please call one of our two offices right way for an appointment: For Sun City, call (623) 972-2961, and for Sun City West, phone (623) 975-1660.
Ear infections can be quite the nuisance, particularly if it’s something that your little one deals with often. While anyone can develop ear infections, babies and young children are at an increased risk for ear infections. Since children’s Eustachian tubes (a structure that connects the middle ear with the pharynx, the cavity that lies behind the nose and mouth) aren’t fully developed it makes it easier for factors such as a common cold to lead to blocked Eustachian tubes and ear infections.
If there is a family history of ear infections, if your child is exposed to secondhand smoke or if your child develops colds and flus regularly then they may be at an increased risk for an ear infection. The most common types of ear infections are a middle ear infection, swimmer’s ear (which affects the outer ear canal), and labyrinthitis (causes inflammation of the inner ear or nerves of the inner ear).
Of course, babies and toddlers won’t be able to tell you that they are experiencing ear pain; however, there are other signs to look out for, including:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Drainage coming from the ear
- Increased irritability or crying more often
- Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
- Increased fussiness or clinginess
- Lack of energy
If your child is displaying any of these symptoms it’s a good idea to take them in to see their pediatrician. Of course, if your child is often dealing with recurring or severe ear infections, visiting an otolaryngologist might be the best medical professional to help you figure out what’s causing these frequent infections and how to put a stop to them.
Of course, adults may also face ear infections. You may wake up in the middle of the night with an ear that is throbbing and painful. If this is the case, turning to an ENT doctor can help alleviate your symptoms. Depending on the type and severity of you or your little one’s ear infection, an ENT specialist will tell you whether or not antibiotics will be necessary for fighting the infection.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers and applying a warm compress to the ear can also help you manage your discomfort until the ear infection goes away. Leaving an ear infection untreated is never a good idea, as it can lead to complications such as hearing loss. This is why it’s important that you or your child receive the proper medical attention necessary if you suspect an ear infection.
5 Common Signs of an Ear Infection
Ear infections can develop in both adults and children. An ear infection occurs when fluid builds up in the middle ear. Ear infections are caused by viruses and bacteria. Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians, which has offices in Sun City West, AZ, and Sun City, AZ, offers state-of-the-art treatments for ear, nose and throat problems. Watch for these five common ear infection symptoms.
1. Ear Pain- The onset of signs and symptoms of ear infection is usually rapid. The most common symptom of an ear infection is ear pain (either a sharp, sudden pain or a dull, continuous pain). The accumulation of fluid in the ear presses on the eardrum, causing an earache. An ear infection that is left untreated can cause the eardrum to rupture.
2. Difficulty Hearing- Having hearing loss may make it hard for a person to hear what other people are saying. An untreated ear infection can cause hearing loss. Hearing usually returns after the infection goes away.
3. Drainage From Ear- Ear wax is yellow to orange-brown in color and is generally not a medical problem. If you have an ear infection, you might notice yellow or white fluid draining from your ear. The fluid will look different from earwax and may have a foul odor. If this occurs, it is not an emergency, but you will need to visit a Sun City West, AZ, or Sun City, AZ, doctor.
4. Low-Grade Fever- A fever is another common symptom of an ear infection. When a fever follows an ear infection, it's usually low-grade. A low-grade fever is classified as an oral temperature that's above 98.6° F but lower than 100.4° F. An ear infection can also occur with no fever at all or a high fever.
5. Difficulty Sleeping- An ear infection often interferes with sleep. You may have difficulty sleeping because of the pain caused by an ear infection. Pain and sleep are integrally connected. An earache affects your ability to sleep, and the lack of sleep makes the pain seem worse.
Say goodbye to that ear infection. Don't wait another minute- call Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians to schedule an appointment in Sun City West, AZ, or Sun City, AZ. Get your life back on track by receiving the best treatment available. We will provide the relief you need.