Who Shouldn’t Use Ear Drops
Ear drops can be helpful when treating an ear infection, but there are times when you shouldnât use them. For example, if you or your child has a perforated eardrum, you should avoid the use of certain ototoxic ear drops because fluid from the drops can get deep into the ear and cause more problems.
What Is A Sinus Infection
The sinuses are cavities in the head that are filled with air. These air-filled pockets are lined with a very thin layer of mucus that functions to collect particles from the air that are breathed in, such as dust, germs, or other particles.
Very small hair-like projections function to sweep the mucus, along with any particles trapped inside of the mucus. The germ- or dirt-filled mucus then slides down the back of the throat and into the stomach where stomach acid works to kill any germs.
When a sinus infection occurs, this natural process involving mucus flow is blocked.
Down Syndrome & Increased Risk Of Ear Infections
Children with Down syndrome or cleft palate disorders are at much higher risk of ear infections and glue ear. They get it at a younger age and are less likely to clear it themselves. Refer early and they often need ongoing specialist review. Assessment and surgical management of otitis media with effusion in children National Institute of Healthcare Excellence, UK
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When To Use Antibiotics
Antibiotics are specific for the type of bacteria being treated and, in general, cannot be interchanged from one infection to another. When antibiotics are used correctly, they are usually safe with few side effects. Health care providers are able to assess each patient individually to determine the correct antibiotic, dose and length of treatment.
However, as with most drugs, antibiotics can lead to side effects that may range from being a nuisance to serious or life-threatening. In infants and the elderly, in patients with kidney or liver disease, in pregnant or breastfeeding women, and in many other patient groups, antibiotic doses may need to be adjusted based upon the individual patient. Drug interactions can also be common with antibiotics.
When Do Children Need Tubes In Their Ears
If your child has frequent ear infections, or if he has trouble hearing because of ongoing fluid in the middle ear, he may need a tube inserted through the ear drum and into the middle ear. The tube helps to keep air pressure normal on both sides of the ear drum and helps fluid drain from the middle ear.
Putting tubes in requires a brief operation by an ear, nose and throat surgeon. Children usually go home the same day.
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Treating Middle Ear Infections
Mild cases of infection can be treated quickly with paracetamol . Do not give regular paracetamol medicine for more than 24 hours without seeking advice from your doctor. It will help if you raise the head of your child’s bed.Some middle ear infections lead to the condition known as glue ear, when thick fluid in the middle ear causes slight deafness. This is not permanent, but it may need treatment. This can include antibiotics and surgery to insert pressure-equalising tubes in the ear drums. Children with glue ear usually recover in a few weeks after the fluid has drained away.
Symptoms Of Middle Ear Infections
Infection can cause:
- Earache mild to severe pain in the ear or face or pulling at the ear and irritability in an infant
- Fever a high temperature might be the only symptom in babies or young children
- Mild deafness caused by fluid which builds up from the infection
- Ear discharge this happens when the eardrum bursts because of pressure behind it.
Children usually recover from mild infections in three to five hours, although your child may feel tired afterwards.
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What Are Complications Of Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
While serious complications do not occur frequently, it is possible for a sinus infection to cause a direct extension of infection into the brain through a sinus wall, creating a life-threatening emergency .
In addition, other adjacent structures can become infected and develop problems, such as osteomyelitis of bones in the skull and infection around the eye . Rarely, these infections may cause death. The most susceptible individuals to complications are patients with suppressed immune systems, diabetes, and relatively rarely from multiple trauma injuries that may occur in natural disasters.
Who Is At Risk Of Ear Infections
Ear infections are very common in babies and young children, who are more likely to develop them than older children and adults. This is because childrens Eustachian tubes are smaller, shorter and flatter than adults. This makes it easier for bacteria and viruses to enter them and for the tubes to become blocked. Adenoid tissue may also contribute to bacteria being able to enter the Eustachian tube.
Children are more likely to get ear infections if they:
- live in houses that are crowded
- live with someone who smokes
- go to early childhood education centres where they are exposed to more colds and flu viruses
- are bottle-fed
- have a lot of colds, infected tonsils, swollen adenoids or other infections
- have brothers and sisters with ear infections .
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Specific Antibiotics Used For Acute Otitis Media
Amoxicillin, a penicillin type of antibiotic, is generally recommended for first-line treatment of AOM. The combination drug amoxicillin-clavulanate is an alternative option. Children who are allergic to penicillin drugs will be prescribed a different antibiotic.
Children who do not respond within 48 to 72 hours to initial treatment with amoxicillin may be given a course of amoxicillin-clavulanate or ceftriaxone. Alternative treatments are ceftriaxone or clindamycin, which may also be accompanied by a different cephalosporin antibiotic.
Symptoms Of Acute Otitis Media
Ear pain is the most common symptom of ear infections. The ear pain associated with acute otitis media usually comes on very suddenly.
Babies and young children who haven’t yet learned to speak may express ear pain in various ways including:
- Pulling, tugging, rubbing, or holding the ear
- Excessive crying, especially when feeding
- Irritability, fussiness, and other changes in behavior
- Difficulty sleeping
Other symptoms associated with ear infections include:
- Fluid discharge from ear
- Cold symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, or coughing
If the ear infection is severe, the tympanic membrane may rupture, causing the pus to drain from the ear. Pus in the ear may cause hearing loss in some children.
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Using The Right Water During Saline Rinses
When using saline nasal rinses, tap water should always be boiled and then allowed to cool to ensure cleanliness distilled water or premixed solutions could also be used instead of regular tap water.
Other home remedies for sinus infections include:
- Drinking fluids: Drinking lots of fluids helps loosen and thin mucus. Avoid beverages that are caffeinated and alcoholic beverages that can dehydrate the body, which could thicken mucus.
- Breathing steam: Warm water is best . You can breathe in steam from either a bowl or shower.
- Humidifying the air: Use a cool air vaporizer or humidifier,particularly at night while sleeping.
- Avoiding environmental substances: Avoid tobacco smoke and chlorinated water that can dry up the mucus membranes and exacerbate symptoms.
- Implementing treatment measures: At the first sign of infection, use antihistamines and employ regular nasal rinses.
Upper Respiratory Infection Symptoms
Fever is a rare symptom of the common cold in adults but may be more likely in children.
Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection can last up to two weeks but usually peak at around three days and are gone within seven. Upper respiratory infections should clear up on their own without needing interventions from your healthcare provider.
But complications of colds can occur, including:
- Sinusitis: An infection in your sinuses causing pain and congestion
- Otitis media: An ear infection causing pain
- Pharyngitis: A sore throat, which might be strep throat
- Epiglottitis: An infection and resulting swelling of the epiglottis, a flap of tissue that covers your windpipe, which can interfere with breathing
- Laryngotracheitis: Infection of the larynx , trachea, or bronchi
Some of these complications may require treatment with antibiotics.
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Response To Antibiotic Treatment
Your child’s symptoms, including fever, should improve within 48 to 72 hours after beginning antibiotics. If symptoms do not improve it may be because a virus is present or the bacteria causing the ear infection is resistant to the prescribed antibiotic. A different antibiotic may be needed.
In some children whose treatment is successful, fluid will still remain in the middle ear for weeks or months, even after the infection has resolved. During that period, children may have some hearing problems, but eventually the fluid almost always drains away.
If your child fails to improve and middle ear fluid remains, your doctor may recommend consultation with an ear, nose, and throat specialist . This specialist may perform a tympanocentesis procedure in which fluid is drawn from the ear and examined for specific bacterial organisms. But this is reserved for severe cases.
Differences Between Middle Ear Infection And Outer Ear Infection
|Middle ear infection
|Outer ear infection
|Middle ear infection Usually affects children
|Outer ear infection Usually affects adults aged 45 to 75
|Middle ear infection Caused by viruses like colds and flu
|Outer ear infection Caused by something irritating the ear canal, such as eczema, water or wearing ear plugs
|Middle ear infection Affects the middle ear
|Outer ear infection Affects the ear canal
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Preventing Ear Infections In The First Place
The AAP also recommends taking measures to reduce risk factors for ear infections, especially during infancy. These include breastfeeding for at least six months, never giving a baby a bottle while she’s lying down, and weaning from a pacifier after six months. And kids of all ages should be kept away from second-hand smoke.
When Are Antibiotics Usually Prescribed
Antibiotics are normally only prescribed for more serious infections with germs .
Most common infections are caused by viruses, when an antibiotic will not be of use. Even if you have a mild bacterial infection, the immune system can clear most bacterial infections. For example, antibiotics usually do little to speed up recovery from most ear, nose and throat infections that are caused by bacteria.
So, do not be surprised if a doctor does not recommend an antibiotic for conditions caused by viruses or non-bacterial infections, or even for a mild bacterial infection.
However, you do need antibiotics if you have certain serious infections caused by bacteria, such as meningitis or pneumonia. In these situations, antibiotics are often life-saving. When you are ill, doctors are skilled at checking you over to rule out serious illness and to advise if an antibiotic is needed. Urine infections also commonly need antibiotics to prevent spread to the kidneys.
Antibiotics can also be prescribed to treat acne – a less serious condition. For acne, antibiotics can be taken by mouth or applied directly to the skin.
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In Some Cases: Surgery
Ear infections often go away with time or with the help of antibiotics. However, some people may experience recurrent ear infections and fluid buildup, or have ear infections that wont heal for months.
In children, these issues can lead to hearing loss, behavioral issues, and speech development delays.
In these instances, a surgery called a tympanoplasty may help. In this procedure, a doctor inserts tiny tubes, called tympanostomy tubes or grommets, into the eardrum. These tubes reduce the occurrence of ear infections and allow drainage of excess fluids.
The procedure is very common and poses minimal risks. An ear tube insertion is more common for children, who tend to suffer ear infections more often than adults.
Home treatments for ear infections may be considered for mild cases in adults only.
Common Antibiotics For Sinus Infections
Antibiotics may be prescribed when symptoms of a sinus infection warrant such treatment. Common antibiotics for sinus infection include:
- Levaquin : Although this drug is often prescribed as a first line of therapy for sinusitis, it has serious side effects and should only be used as a last resort.
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How Do Ear Infections Happen
A middle ear infection usually happens because of swelling in one or both of the eustachian tubes . The tubes let mucus drain from the middle ear into the throat.
A cold, throat infection, acid reflux, or allergies can make the eustachian tubes swell. This blocks the mucus from draining. Then, or grow in the mucus and make pus, which builds up in the middle ear.
When doctors refer to an ear infection, they usually mean otitis media rather than swimmer’s ear . Otitis media with effusion is when noninfected fluid builds up in the ear. It might not cause symptoms, but in some kids, the fluid creates a sensation of ear fullness or “popping.”
Can I Buy Antibiotics
No, in the UK they are only available from your chemist, with a doctor’s prescription. In some other parts of the world they are available over the counter. However, to reduce the problem of resistance due to inappropriate use of antibiotics, it is best to always obtain medical advice before buying antibiotics.
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How Do Ear Infection Antibiotics Work
Ear infections are no fun for anyone.
Since most ear infections are caused by bacteria, its typically best to treat individual cases with antibiotics.
But antibiotic treatment isnt appropriate for every ear infection. There are a variety of factors to consider, including:
- your age
Recurring ear infections may also require a different approach.
If youre considering ear infection antibiotics for yourself or a loved one, learn more about how these medications work and how they can be both helpful and possibly harmful.
Ear infections are most prevalent in young children. Theyre often the byproducts of upper respiratory infections.
You or your child might experience other symptoms before the ear infection, including:
If an upper respiratory infection is caused by bacteria, then its possible to have an ear infection at the same time.
An ear infection occurs when bacteria gets trapped in your middle ear. Bacteria known as Hemophilus influenza and Streptococcus pneumoniae are the most common bacterial culprits.
But an ear infection may still occur if you have a viral respiratory illness. As you recover, its possible for bacteria to travel to your middle ear and become trapped, leading to a secondary infection in your ears.
How Long Will It Take For My Child To Recover From An Ear Infection In
Ear infections heal in stages. Antibiotics are administered to help kill bacteria in the middle ear usually within a few days. Most symptoms of fever and discomfort resolve during this time. However, fluid may linger for several weeks and continue to interfere with hearing. It is important to follow up with your childs doctor within a months time to ensure the fluid is beginning to drain from the ear. If it lingers longer than normal, your doctor may become concerned about the potential for recurrent sinus infections, chronic colds, or allergies.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind:
It is important to see a doctor if your child begins to display the signs of ear infection. An accurate diagnosis is essential for successful treatment especially since some children can exhibit the symptoms of ear infection in association with a different condition, such as teething.
Blood and pus draining from your childs ear may be frightening, but they are nothing to be overly concerned about. This is a normal symptom of ear infection and may occur if your childs eardrum has ruptured. Most children heal and recover from this condition with no complications.
It is important to completely finish an entire course of prescribed antibiotics as instructed. Stopping early could allow the infection to return.
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The Role Of Eustachian Tubes
The eustachian tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the throat. The ends of these tubes open and close to regulate air pressure in the middle ear, resupply air to this area, and drain normal secretions.
A respiratory infection or allergy can block the eustachian tubes, causing a buildup of fluids in the middle ear. Infection can occur if this fluid becomes infected bacterially.
The eustachian tubes of young children are smaller and more horizontal than in older children and adults. This means that fluid is more likely to collect in the tubes rather than drain away, increasing the risk of an ear infection.