Why Are Children More Likely Than Adults To Get Ear Infections
There are several reasons why children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
Eustachian tubes are smaller and more level in children than they are in adults. This makes it difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear, even under normal conditions. If the eustachian tubes are swollen or blocked with mucus due to a cold or other respiratory illness, fluid may not be able to drain.
A childs immune system isnt as effective as an adults because its still developing. This makes it harder for children to fight infections.
As part of the immune system, the adenoids respond to bacteria passing through the nose and mouth. Sometimes bacteria get trapped in the adenoids, causing a chronic infection that can then pass on to the eustachian tubes and the middle ear.
Symptoms Of Ear Infection
Babies and small children might:
- pull or rub their ear
- have a high temperature
- have redness around the ear
- be restless or irritable
- not respond to noises that would normally attract their attention
See your doctor if:
- your child is in pain
- there is discharge from the child’s ear
- your child is unwell or vomiting
- your child can’t hear properly
- there is swelling behind the ear and the ear is being pushed forward
- your child keeps getting ear infections
Management Of Acute Otitis Media
Treatment Strategy for Acute Otitis Media
Diagnosis established by physical examination findings and presence of symptoms
Children six months or older with otorrhea or severe signs or symptoms : antibiotic therapy for 10 days
Children six to 23 months of age with bilateral acute otitis media without severe signs or symptoms: antibiotic therapy for 10 days
Children six to 23 months of age with unilateral acute otitis media without severe signs or symptoms: observation or antibiotic therapy for 10 days
Children two years or older without severe signs or symptoms: observation or antibiotic therapy for five to seven days
Repeat ear examination for signs of otitis media
If otitis media is present, initiate or change antibiotic therapy
If symptoms persist despite appropriate antibiotic therapy, consider intramuscular ceftriaxone , clindamycin, or tympanocentesis
Information from reference 8.
Treatment Strategy for Acute Otitis Media
Information from reference 8.
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Types Of Ear Infections
The most common type of ear infection is called acute otitis media .
AOM is more common in children because they have smaller eustachian tubes. Located between the middle ear and upper throat, these tubes are responsible for fluid drainage.
If this fluid doesnt drain, a buildup and infection may occur. Fluid trapped in the middle ear behind your eardrum may also cause:
Other common infections
Other common types of ear infections include:
- Otitis media with effusion . The infection has cleared up, but fluid may still be stuck in the middle ear.
- Chronic otitis media with effusion . Fluid continues to build up on a recurring basis despite the lack of infection. This chronic condition can lead to serious side effects, such as hearing loss .
- Swimmers ear : occurs in the outer ear when water becomes trapped and promotes bacterial growth in the ear canal.
Symptoms Of Ear Infections
- The main symptom is an earache.
- Younger children will cry, act fussy or have trouble sleeping because of pain.
- About 50% of children with an ear infection will have a fever.
- Complication: In 5% to 10% of children, the eardrum will develop a small tear. This is from the pressure in the middle ear. The ear then drains cloudy fluid or pus. This small hole most often heals over in 2 or 3 days.
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What Is The Best Antibiotic For Ear Infection Treatment
When you visit your childs doctor for an ear infection, they will perform an examination to determine a diagnosis and treatment. Oral antibiotics are often prescribed to treat middle ear infections. Here are the most commonly prescribed antibiotics:
- Amoxil® or Augmentin® : Amoxicillin is one of the most commonly used antibiotics to treat bacterial infections and is the preferred antibiotic for treating otitis media. It comes in a tablet, powder for suspension, chewable tablets, extended-release tablets, and capsules. Amoxicillin can be taken with or without food, but try taking it with food if stomach upset occurs.
- Cephalosporin antibiotics : The class of medicines known as cephalosporin antibiotics can be used as an alternative to amoxicillin to treat otitis media. It comes in a tablet or powder for suspension.
- Cefuroxime suspension must be taken with food, but tablets may be taken with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, try taking the medicine with food. Avoid crushing the tablet, as it may taste bitter.
- Cefpodoxime tablets must be taken with food, while the oral liquid can be taken with or without food.
- Cefdinir may be taken with or without food, but try taking it with food if stomach upset occurs. Wait at least 2 hours before or after antacids or iron supplements to take cefdinir.
- Cortisporin Otic®
- Cipro HC®
Whether You Actually Need Antibiotics
Ultimately the most important question everyone should ask is: Do you really need a course of antibiotics to treat your infection?
Generally speaking, you do not need an antibiotic every time you have an infection or might have an infection. They are not there to take “just in case” or to save for another occasion if you cut your treatment short. Both are bad ideas. Antibiotics do not work for colds or most upper respiratory infections.
Focus instead on avoiding infections by following three simple tips:
- Get vaccinated for both bacterial and viral infections. Speak with your healthcare provider about which ones you need or are missing.
- Wash your hands. This is not about being germ-phobic. It’s about understanding that your hands are among the most effective vectors of infection. Wash thoroughly, ideally with an antibacterial wash, whenever you are in a public place where you might pick up a bug.
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or a cough. Try to avoid doing so into your hands as this can spread an infection to others. Instead, use a tissue or the crook of your elbow. If in a confined space such as an airplane, consider wearing a disposable mask if you are ill or at risk of infection.
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Persistent Or Recurrent Aom
Children with persistent, significant AOM symptoms despite at least 48 to 72 hours of antibiotic therapy should be reexamined.8 If a bulging, inflamed tympanic membrane is observed, therapy should be changed to a second-line agent.2 For children initially on amoxicillin, high-dose amoxicillin/clavulanate is recommended.8,10,28
For children with an amoxicillin allergy who do not improve with an oral cephalosporin, intramuscular ceftriaxone, clindamycin, or tympanocentesis may be considered.4,8 If symptoms recur more than one month after the initial diagnosis of AOM, a new and unrelated episode of AOM should be assumed.10 For children with recurrent AOM with middle ear effusion, tympanostomy tubes may be considered to reduce the need for systemic antibiotics in favor of observation, or topical antibiotics for tube otorrhea.8,10 However, tympanostomy tubes may increase the risk of long-term tympanic membrane abnormalities and reduced hearing compared with medical therapy.33 Other strategies may help prevent recurrence .3437
Strategies for Preventing Recurrent Otitis Media
Check for undiagnosed allergies leading to chronic rhinorrhea
Eliminate bottle propping and pacifiers34
Eliminate exposure to passive smoke35
Routinely immunize with the pneumococcal conjugate and influenza vaccines36
Use xylitol gum in appropriate children 37
Information from references 34 through 37.
Strategies for Preventing Recurrent Otitis Media
Information from references 34 through 37.
Types Of Antibiotics For Bacterial Infections
A dental abscess may spread to the jaw or to the orbital area of your eyes. If that happens, you can also visit an eye specialist to know the right antibiotics you need to take. As a matter of fact, it is essential to use appropriate antibiotics in each situation, even though antibiotics can help clear infection.
Usually, your dentist may recommend topical or oral antibiotics, depending on your condition. This is because various antibiotics work in different ways to eliminate disease-causing bacteria.
In any case, here are some systemic or topical antibiotics that can help treat infection in your mouth.
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Do I Need Antibiotics For A Tooth Infection
If the dentist recommends antibiotics for your infection, its best to take them. They wouldnt prescribe them if it wasnt absolutely necessary.
However, before you take your medicine, you should get to know the different types of antibiotics dentists usually prescribe. This will help you learn what you can expect from them.
The Course Of Antibiotic Therapy
When it comes to antibiotics, getting the proper duration of the correct antibiotic safely is the priority. However, the simple fact is that people will usually stop taking an antibiotic as soon as they start feeling better. And that’s a mistake. Not only does not finishing the full course increase the likelihood of recurrence, but it also promotes the development of drug resistance.
Antibiotics work by eliminating the majority of bacteria while allowing the immune system to take care of the rest. By not completing a course of antibiotics, the surviving bacteria have the opportunity to thrive, some of which may be fully or partially resistant to the antibiotic. If these are allowed to predominate, antibiotic-resistant strains and superbugs can develop.
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What Is My Doctor Looking For
Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms youâve had. Be sure to come to the office with any notes you might need and questions on your mind.
She will look at the eardrum with an instrument called an otoscope for signs of infection. This is a tough task with a fussy infant, so be ready to help calm the little one if itâs your child with the earache.
Signs of infection include a red eardrum or a bulging eardrum with fluid behind it. The fluid may be thin like during a cold, or thick like pus. It is located in the middle ear, just behind the ear drum. Otitis media means inflammation of the middle ear. A puffer attached to the otoscope blows air to see if your thin eardrum moves. With fluid in the middle ear, the eardrum is more rigid and doesn’t move back and forth.
She might also look for signs of infection with another instrument. Itâs called a tympanometer, and it uses sound and air pressure to check for fluid in the middle ear.
Ear Infection Types Causes And Symptoms
When it comes to an ear infection, there are a few different types of infections, and each has its own set of symptoms.
- Middle Ear Infection:acute otitis media is a middle ear infection that can be quite painful. Another middle ear infection, otitis media with effusion, occurs when fluid builds up in the middle ear, but does not cause ear pain, fever, or pus build-up.
- Causes: A middle ear infection can be caused by bacteria such as Haemophilus influenzae or streptococcus pneumoniae. Viruses can also cause an ear infection.
- Symptoms: The most common symptoms of acute otitis media in children include fever, ear pain, difficulty sleeping, rubbing or tugging at an ear, fussiness or irritability.
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Anatomy Of An Ear Infection
The ear is divided into the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Infection can occur in any of these areas, but bacterial infections of the inner ear are extremely rare.
Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause infections in the ear. Infections can be brought on by an illness, such as a cold or allergies.
Ear infections generally occur when bacteria, viruses, or fungi gain entry into one of the three areas of the ear and cause infection.
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Ever since drug-based antibiotics came around in the 1940s, natural antibiotics have taken the back seat.
Well until recently that is. Now that weve come to realize drug-based antibiotics have some nasty side effects, the demand for natural antibiotics has exploded.
Every time you swallow a drug-based antibiotic, you cause significant harm to your digestive system by destroying the healthy bacteria in your gut.
This can result in
- Gut-related diseases
- Food sensitivities
- Chronic Inflammation
And its not like drug-based antibiotics damage the gut for a just few weeks.
The Journal Microbiology, claims that even a short course of antibiotics can cause undesirable changes in the gut microbiome that persist for up to 4 or more years!
That being said, heres an overview of the natural antibiotics I mention in this article. If you dont feel like reading too much, just click on the natural antibiotic that interests you the most to jump to it.
|Candida in the gut, viral & bacterial infections|
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Are There Any Over
Over-the-counter oral antibiotics are not approved in the U.S. A bacterial infection is best treated with a prescription antibiotic that is specific for the type of bacteria causing the infection. Using a specific antibiotic will increase the chances that the infection is cured and help to prevent antibiotic resistance. In addition, a lab culture may need to be performed to pinpoint the bacteria and to help select the best antibiotic. Taking the wrong antibiotic — or not enough — may worsen the infection and prevent the antibiotic from working the next time.
There are a few over-the-counter topical antibiotics that can be used on the skin. Some products treat or prevent minor cuts, scrapes or burns on the skin that may get infected with bacteria. These are available in creams, ointments, and even sprays.
When Else Are Antibiotics Needed
Antibiotics can be the right treatment for kids who get a lot of ear infections. Their doctors might prescribe daily antibiotics to help prevent future infections. And younger children or those with more severe illness may need antibiotics right from the start.
The “wait-and-see” approach also might not apply to children with other concerns, such as cleft palate, genetic conditions such as Down syndrome, or other illnesses such as immune system disorders.
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Observation Vs Antibiotic Therapy
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria remain a major public health challenge. A widely endorsed strategy for improving the management of AOM involves deferring antibiotic therapy in patients least likely to benefit from antibiotics.18 Antibiotics should be routinely prescribed for children with AOM who are six months or older with severe signs or symptoms , and for children younger than two years with bilateral AOM regardless of additional signs or symptoms.8
Among children with mild symptoms, observation may be an option in those six to 23 months of age with unilateral AOM, or in those two years or older with bilateral or unilateral AOM.8,10,19 A large prospective study of this strategy found that two out of three children will recover without antibiotics.20 Recently, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommended not prescribing antibiotics for otitis media in children two to 12 years of age with nonsevere symptoms if observation is a reasonable option.21,22 If observation is chosen, a mechanism must be in place to ensure appropriate treatment if symptoms persist for more than 48 to 72 hours. Strategies include a scheduled follow-up visit or providing patients with a backup antibiotic prescription to be filled only if symptoms persist.8,20,23
How Is An Ear Infection Diagnosed
Once youre at the doctors office, a medical professional will look inside your ear with an otoscope to determine whether you have an infection.
Typical signs include fluid buildup in the ear canal and middle ear, along with a red and inflamed eardrum.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend waiting a few days to see if your ear infection improves.
Some infections resolve on their own. But if the infection is severe, or if symptoms dont improve after this time, then antibiotics may be warranted.
Chronic fluid buildup without an infection warrants additional testing from an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Its especially important to diagnose young children so that they dont encounter speech and language delays from loss of hearing.
If your doctor recommends antibiotics to treat a severe ear infection, they will likely recommend an oral treatment, such as amoxicillin .
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Side Effects And Risks Of Antibiotics
Antibiotic use often carries with it many side effects and your doctor probably wont discuss these risks with you.
Most antibiotic drugs have significant negative side effects, which can include: diarrhea, hives, yeast infections, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, depressed white blood cell counts , rashes, and more. Consult your physician if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Many people can not take antibiotics because of the severe side effects.
RxISK.org is a free, independent drug safety website where you can research your antibiotic for ALL of the side effects that actual people are experiencing. You can also report your side-effects. .
If you are pregnant you should also strongly consider alternatives to antibiotics because of health issues correlated to the developing child.
Parents should be especially cautious using antibiotics on children as I believe they can, especially with overuse, contribute to many chronic illnesses. Why? Antibiotics will kill off many of the good or friendly bacteria inside the intestines along with the bad bacteria of the infection. This disruption of the natural bacteria balance in the body can cause intestinal problems but importantly, they also weaken the bodys immune system, thus increasing the chances of getting re-infected later.
You have an entire army of bacteria that work to keep you safe and healthy, and antibiotics kill both the bad and the good bacteria leaving your body compromised.