Ear infections normally refer to the medical conditions known as otitis media or infection of the middle ear. These can be either bacterial or viral in nature and often get better without treatment. However, they can still be painful due to inflammation or a build-up of fluid. They can be either acute or chronic if they persist for long periods of time or have repeat occurrences. If the condition is chronic or the pain is severe, medication may be prescribed for pain relief or direct treatment of the infection, since prolonged infection may cause serious hearing problems and other harmful conditions.
Anyone can develop an ear infection, but it is most common in children between 6 months and 2 years of age. These children may often be prescribed antibiotics to deal with the infection. If you think your child is suffering from an ear infection and home remedies do not seem to work, we recommend you visit a physician that can provide the best course of action. The professionals at Mid City Hospital are great if you live in Lahore.
Before you jump to the conclusion that your child is suffering from an ear infection, you should know what some of the most common symptoms of the condition are. These include:
- Ear Pain: This is of course the obvious symptom, but it may be difficult to spot in younger children that may not be able to communicate their issues well. Look out for signs of regular rubbing of the ears, difficulty sleeping, or irritable behavior.
- Difficulty Eating: As one swallow, the pressure within the middle ear changes. If there is an infection, this can cause considerable pain during eating. If your child seems to lose their appetite, that may be an indicator in tandem with other signs.
- Fever: Around 50% of children with ear infections experience a fever. This can range from temperatures of about 100° F to 104° F.
- Fluid Drainage: If there is fluid build-up in the ear, this may seep out, and appear as a yellow, brown, or white fluid. This could also mean that the eardrum has ruptured if the infection was in the middle ear.
- Hearing Loss: Fluid in the inner ear may slow down the movement of electrical signals through the inner bones of the ear. It may also act as a physical barrier to the transmission of sound waves.
- Loss of Balance: Having a difference in pressure in the ears can greatly affect balance in children, so clumsy movements may be an indicator.
As mentioned before, most ear infections clear up within 3 days to a week. However, in the cases of chronic or severely painful infections, some intervention might be necessary. Treatments include home remedies, medication, and surgery. Some treatments you can follow through on at home include:
- Applying a warm compress to the infected ear
- Avoiding putting pressure on the ear, for example by not sleeping on that ear
- Using OTC medication like ibuprofen or ear drops to relieve pain
In the case of severe infections, doctors may prescribe antibiotics on the basis of the infection-causing agent.
If the fluid build-up is excessive, ear tubes may be used to allow it to drain out. Another surgery option is myringotomy, whereby an incision in the eardrum allows fluid to drain out, healing within a few days.
If home treatments do not work, and the infection persists, you should consult a professional as soon as possible. These Best Child Specialist in Islamabad are great if you require a physician in that city.