What Can You Do for an Ear Infection?
posted by The Ear, Nose and Throat Team | July 20, 2016
Ear infections are classified by where they occur in the ear. The most common types include:
Swimmer’s ear – an ear infection located in the outer canal of the ear
Middle ear infection (otitis media) – an infection that occurs behind the eardrum in the ear’s open space
Otitis interna – An inflammation that is located in the inner ear
In most cases, younger children are at risk for the more serious ear infections. The younger the child, the more serious the condition has the potential to be. For instance, 10% of children between the ages of 0 and 17 will suffer from otitis media, infection of the middle ear, at some point in their childhood.
The most common type of infection, acute otitis media (AOM), occurs when fluid builds up in the air pocket of the ear behind the eardrum, causing pain and sensitivity.
Otitis media with effusion (OME) – With OME, the ear infection has actually run its course. However, discomfort may continue because of fluid that remains trapped behind the eardrum. It is possible that the fluid will remain without any pain symptoms at all. This can lead to new infections if a doctor does not catch it.
Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME) – The fluid in the middle ear from an initial infection can return over and over again, affecting the long term hearing of an individual if the problem is not taken care of. If this fluid stays, it also inhibits the body’s ability to fight off new infections.
There are special precautions that you should take in order to prevent ear infections in children. These precautions include:
Avoid letting babies use pacifiers for extended periods
Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle
Refrain from smoking tobacco around a child
Try not to keep a child in the same sleeping position for long periods of time
Limit your child’s time spent with other sick children
There are also genetic factors that cannot be helped – if a family has a history of ear infections, the children of that family will be more likely to suffer from it. Children in lower socioeconomic conditions are also more likely to contract infections.
A properly trained ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor) is the best defense against current and future ear infections. ENTs will have special tools that can locate fluid from previous infections and clear the ear so that it can return to full health and fight off future infections. An ENT will also be able to treat painful symptoms and offer suggestions as to what behaviors are causing the ear infection so that you can avoid those behaviors in the future. ENTs also have access to stronger antibiotics that can kill the germs that cause ear infections.
If you or your child is suffering from any of the conditions or symptoms mentioned above, Revere Health is here to help. With a network of offices around Utah, Revere Health is in place to conveniently assist you in the treatment of any type of ear infection you may have. Give our offices a call today.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.