How to Treat an Ear Infection

How to Treat an Ear Infection

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How to Treat an Ear Infection

An ear infection (also known as otitis media) is a rather common problem in infants and children, but it can also affect adults. Almost 90% of children suffer from at least one ear infection before the age of three. It is a pathology that can become very painful due to the accumulation of fluids that creates pressure on the eardrum. Many average Otitis can be treated directly at home with home remedies, but in severe cases or when the infection affects a very young child, it may be necessary to take antibiotics prescribed by the doctor to completely eradicate it.

Recognize the infection

1) Know who is at greater risk of getting an ear infection.
In general, it is children who are more likely to suffer from average otitis than adults. This is because the Eustachian tubes (the ducts that from the middle of each ear reach the back of the throat) are smaller in children and therefore more inclined to fill with liquid. In addition, children also have a weaker immune system than adults and may be more prone to viral infections such as colds. Anything that blocks the ear canals can cause an otitis. Keep in mind, however, that there are other risk factors that can facilitate the development of this infection, including:
– Allergies.
– Respiratory infections such as colds and sinusitis.
– Infection or problems with the adenoids (lymphatic tissue in the
upper area of the throat).
– Tobacco smoke.
– Excessive production of mucus or saliva as often occurs during teething
– Living in a cold climate.
– Sudden changes in altitude or climate.
– Feed with artificial milk.
– Recent diseases.
– Attend a kindergarten, especially a rather large nursery, with –
many children.

2) Recognize the symptoms of a middle ear infection.
This infection, also called acute otitis media, is the most prevalent and is caused by a virus or bacteria. The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum, which contains tiny bones that transmit vibrations to the inner ear. When the area fills with fluid, bacteria and viruses can enter and cause an infection. Otitis generally develops after a respiratory infection such as a cold, although severe allergies can also cause it. The main symptoms are:
– Ear pain or otalgia.
– Feeling of fullness in the ear.
– General malaise.
– He retched.
– Diarrhoea.
– Hearing loss in the infected ear.
– Tinnitus.
– Dizziness.
– Liquid leaking from the ear.
– Fever, especially in children.

3) You know the difference between an infection of the middle ear and “the ear of the swimmer”.
The swimmer’s ear, also known as external otitis or “external ear infection”, affects the external ear canal due to the presence of bacteria or fungi. Humidity is the main cause of this type of illness (which is why it is called the swimmer), but also scratches or foreign objects penetrated into the ear canal can cause this problem. Symptoms usually start mildly, but often get worse and include:
– Itching in the ear canal.
– Redness of the internal area of the ear.
– The discomfort that gets worse when you pull or push the outer ear
– Fluid leaking from the ears (initially light in colour and odourless
until becoming pus).
– Among the most serious symptoms you can find:
– The sensation of fullness or obstruction of the ear.
– Hearing reduction.
– Severe pain that radiates outward, in the face or in the neck.
– Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
– Temperature.                                                                                                                                                                                            21 JUNE 2018

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4) Observe the signs of otitis in children.
Children may exhibit different symptoms than older children and adults. Given that children are often unable to describe their state of discomfort, pay attention to these behaviours:
– They pull, pull or scratch their ears.
– They continually move their heads.
– They are annoyed, irritated or cry continuously.
– They sleep badly.
– They have a fever (especially infants and very young children).
– Liquid escapes from the ear.
– They are clumsy in their movements or have problems with
balance.
They have hearing problems.

7) Know when it is time to immediately contact a doctor.
Most ear infections can be treated at home, often successfully. However, if you or your children have some symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away. These symptoms include:
Blood or pus that drains from the ear (may appear white, yellow, green or pink/red).
– A high fever persists, especially if it is more than 39 ° C.
– Dizziness or vertigo.
– Stiff neck.
– Tinnitus.
– Pain or swelling behind or around the ear.
– The pain in the ear lasts more than 48 hours.

Look for Medical Care

8) Take your child to the doctor if he is less than six months old.

If you notice any symptoms of ear infection in a newborn, you should take it immediately to the paediatrician. Young children have not yet fully developed their immune system and have a much higher risk of contracting serious infections; so they will certainly have to take antibiotics right away.
Do not try to treat the infection of newborns and very young children with home remedies. Always contact the paediatrician to find the most appropriate therapy.

9) Let the doctor examine the ears of your child or yours.
If you fear that you or your child have a severe ear infection, be prepared to undergo several tests, including:
A visual examination of the eardrum with an otoscope. It may be difficult to keep the baby steady during this examination, but it is an important test to determine if there is an ongoing infection.
An examination to verify the presence of any material that blocks or fills the middle ear using a pneumatic otoscope, which blows a little air into the eardrum making it move back and forth. If a liquid is present, the eardrum will not move easily or readily as would normally be expected, indicating the likely presence of an infection.
An examination with a tympanometer, which uses sound and pressure to check for any fluid in the middle ear.
If the infection is chronic or is a serious case, you will need to consult an audiologist to perform a hearing test and determine if a loss has occurred.

10) Prepare for the doctor to examine the eardrum more scrupulously if the infection is resistant or chronic.
If you or your child begin to experience severe discomfort due to ear problems, the doctor can create an opening in the eardrum and extract a sample of fluid from the middle ear. The sample will then be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

11) Be aware that many ear infections can be treated at home.

Many Otitis resolves themselves without the need for any treatment. Some disappear within a few days, but most of them spontaneously reduce within 1-2 weeks, even without treatment. In the USA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend a “wait-and-see” approach by following these guidelines:
For children, 6 to 23 months of age: wait to understand the progression of the infection if the pain in the inner ear is mild, lasts less than 48 hours and the temperature is below 39 ° C.
For children of 2 years: it is advisable to wait in case of the pain to one or both internal ears are mild, last for less than 48 hours and the temperature is lower than 39 ° C.
After 48 hours, if the problem persists, it is important to consult a doctor. An antibiotic will often be given to prevent the spread of otitis and to reduce the risk of further infections potentially life-threatening (albeit rare).
Although rarely, some more serious complications may develop, including mastoiditis (an infection of the bones around the skull), meningitis, spread of brain infection or even hearing loss.

12) Be very careful when you have to take a plane with a child who has an ear infection.
If your child has the active infection, there is a greater risk of suffering from a disorder called barotrauma, which can occur when the middle ear tries to balance the changes in pressure. Chewing gum during take-off or landing can reduce this risk.
If you have a baby with an ear infection, feed it with the bottle during take-off and landing, to help regulate the pressure in the middle ear.

Treating the Pain of Infection at home

13) Get over-the-counter painkillers.
You can take ibuprofen or paracetamol if the pain is not reduced by itself or if no other symptoms develop. These drugs can also help reduce your child’s fever and make it feel a little better.
Never give aspirin to children and young people under the age of 18, as this drug has been associated with Reye’s syndrome, which causes severe brain and liver damage.
Administer the drugs with pediatric dosage when they are intended for your child. Follow the directions for the dosage that are listed on the package or informed by the paediatrician.
Do not give ibuprofen to children younger than 6 months.

How to Treat an Ear Infection

14) Apply a warm compress.
A heat source in the area helps to reduce the pain caused by the infection. You can use a warm damp cloth.
Alternatively, you can fill a clean sock with rice or beans and tie or sew the open end. Put the sock in the microwave oven for 30 seconds at a time until the rice reaches the desired temperature. Apply the compress to the ear.
Place it on the painful area no more than 15-20 minutes at a time.

15) Rests a lot.
The body needs rest to recover from infections. Make sure you do not ask too much of your body and do not overdo the activities during the active phase of otitis, especially if you also have a fever.
Paediatricians usually do not recommend keeping the child home from school for an ear infection, unless they have a fever. In any case, be sure to check your activities to make sure you are resting as much as you need to.

16) Keep yourself hydrated.
You must drink more fluids, especially in case of fever.
Researchers recommend drinking at least 3 litres of fluids a day, if you’re a male, and at least 2.2 litres if you’re female.

17) Try to carry out the Valsalva manoeuvre only if you do not experience any pain.
This is a technique that can be used to open the Eustachian tubes and relieve the feeling of “plugged” ear that often accompanies otitis in the active phase. Be sure to perform the manoeuvre only if you do not currently experience pain in your ears.
Take a deep breath and close your mouth.
Squeeze the nostrils to close the nose and when it is tightly closed, it “blows” from the nose gently.
Do not blow too hard, however, otherwise you may damage the eardrum. At this point, you should hear a “pop” in your ears, a sign that they are open.

18) Put a few drops of hot Verdasco oil or garlic in your ear.
Both of these oils are natural antibiotics and can provide relief from the pain caused by the infection. Use a dropper to instil 2-3 drops of hot (never boiling) oil in each ear.
Always consult the paediatrician before trying these remedies on children.

18) Try a natural remedy.
Research has found that a herbal remedy, especially olive oil, garlic and mullein, can be helpful in reducing the pain caused by average otitis.
Always consult your doctor before applying this remedy. Do not give alternative medicines to your child without first asking the paediatrician for advice.

Keep the situation under observation

19) Carefully monitor the condition of the ear.
Often measure your child’s fever or that of your child and pay attention to any other symptoms that may occur.
If you develop a fever and notice flu-like symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, the infection may have worsened and the home treatments you are practising may not be effective enough.
Among the symptoms that should cause you to go to the doctor, there are confusional state, stiffness and swelling of the neck, pain or redness around the ear. These symptoms indicate that the infection may have spread and that you should undergo treatment immediately.

20) Pay attention in case I felt an intense pain in the ear that settles almost immediately without any pain.
This could mean that the eardrum is broken and, in this case, can cause temporary loss of hearing. A rupture of the eardrum makes the ear more susceptible to infections, further aggravating the situation.
In addition to the absence of pain, you may also notice the leakage of fluid from the ear.
Although a broken eardrum generally heals within a couple of weeks, even without treatment, some problems may persist and require medical intervention or treatment.

21) Call your doctor if the pain gets worse within 48 hours.
Although most caregivers recommend a “wait-and-see” approach for up to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms, if the pain increases during this period, you should contact your doctor. He will be able to advise you on a more incisive treatment or even prescribe antibiotics.

22) Submit yourself or your child to a hearing test,
in case the liquid continues to form inside the ear even after three months from the onset of otitis. This can be a problem related to significant hearing disorders.
Sometimes, a temporary hearing loss (hearing loss) may occur, especially in children up to two years of age.
If your child is under 2 years of age and is subject to frequent accumulation of fluid in the ears, in addition to other hearing disorders, the doctor will not wait three months to start treatment. Hearing problems that occur at this age may affect the child’s ability to speak, as well as other developmental difficulties.

Take Antibiotics and Follow Other Medical Treatments

23) Get antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.
Antibiotics do not cure an ear infection, if it is caused by a virus, therefore they are not always prescribed for the treatment of average otitis. In any case, all children under the age of 6 months are treated with antibiotics.
Tell your doctor about the date of last antibiotic intake and their type; in this way, help the doctor choose the most effective one for you.
Make sure that you or your child take all the doses of the drug on schedule, to avoid possible recurrences.
Do not stop taking antibiotics before you have completed the full course as prescribed to you, even if you start feeling better. If you stop the antibiotic treatment prematurely, you may not kill all the bacteria, which in this way would become resistant to the drug, making it even more difficult to treat this type of infection.

24) Ask the doctor prescribing you for ear drops.
Ear drops, such as those based on antipyrine-benzocaine-glycerine (Auralgan), can help alleviate the pain caused by average otitis. However, be aware that your doctor will not prescribe ear drops if you have torn or perforated eardrums.
To give the drops to a child, first heat the solution by putting the vial in hot water or holding it in your hands for a few minutes. Lay the child on a flat surface with the infected ear facing up towards you. Be sure to give him the recommended dosage. Have the child keep the head tilted with the infected ear upwards for about 2 minutes.
Since benzocaine causes numbness, it’s best if you get help from someone else to give the drops to your ears. Prevents the dropper from touching the infected ears.
Benzocaine may cause mild itching or redness. In addition, it has also been associated with a rare but serious disease that affects levels of oxygen in the blood. Never give more than the recommended amount and consult the paediatrician to make sure you give the right dosage to your child.

25) Inform your doctor about trans-tympanic ventilation tubes if you suffer from recurrent ear infections.
Frequent recurrent otitis can be treated with a procedure called myringotomy. The recurring term means that there have been three episodes in the last six months or four episodes during the previous year, with at least one recurrence in the last six months. Even individuals with an ear infection that does not disappear after treatment are valid candidates for this procedure.
Myringotomy, which consists of the surgical incision of the eardrum membrane, is a procedure that can be performed as a day hospital. The surgeon inserts small tubes into the eardrum so that the fluids behind it can drain more easily. The tympanum usually closes again when the pipe falls or is removed.

26) Evaluate with your doctor the possibility of undergoing an adenoidectomy to remove swollen adenoids.
If the adenoids of the tissue masses behind the nasal cavity swell you often, surgery may be needed to remove them.

Prevention

27) Respect the deadlines of the vaccine calls.
Many serious bacterial infections can be prevented by vaccinations. Seasonal influenza and pneumococcal flu vaccines generally help reduce episodes of otitis media.
Both you and all the other members of the family should get vaccinated every year against the flu, as the vaccine protects you and protects you from infections.
Experts advise vaccinating children with PCV13: 13 valent conjugated anti-pneumococcal vaccine. Ask the paediatrician for advice.

28) Keep your hands, toys and surfaces where your child plays clean.
Wash your child’s hands, his toys, and take care of the areas where he spends most of his time, in order to reduce the risk of infection.

29) If you can, avoid giving him a pacifier.
Pacifiers can transmit all types of bacteria, including those responsible for otitis media.

30) Feed it to the breast, rather than from the bottle.
Bacteria can be transmitted more easily with artificial feeding and, as a consequence, the chances of infections increase.
Breastfeeding also strengthens the child’s immune system and helps it to fight infections more easily.
If you absolutely need to breastfeed it artificially, let the child assume the most upright posture possible, so that the milk goes down into the oesophagus and does not channel into the ears.
Never breastfeed a baby when lying down for a nap or sleeping at night.

31) Reduce exposure to passive smoking.
This is an important step, both to prevent possible ear infections, but also for general health and safety.

32) Do not abuse antibiotics.
Prolonged use of these drugs facilitates the resistance of some bacteria in your body or that of your child and in this way are no longer killed by medicines. Be sure to take them only if you are prescribed by your doctor or when you cannot implement other solutions.

33) Do not send your child to kindergarten or take precautions.

In these facilities, children are 50% more likely to develop average otitis due to the easy transmission of both bacterial and viral infections.
If you can not avoid sending him to kindergarten, teach him some tactics to try to avoid the spread of infections, such as colds, which can worsen to become ear infections.
Teach your child not to put toys or fingers in his mouth. It should also avoid touching your face and areas of the mucous membranes such as mouth, eyes and nose with your hands. Make sure that you always wash your hands after eating and after being in the bathroom.

34) Follow a healthy diet that includes probiotics.
Eat a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins to help your body stay strong and healthy. Some research has also found that “good” bacteria such as probiotics are able to defend the body against infections.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a strain of bacteria commonly found in probiotics and you can find it in many yoghurts.

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