Up to 87%
Discount on Rx
Over 1.8 Million
Otitis Externa (Swimmer's Ear) often develops after repeated exposure to moisture from swimming, sweating, and humid environments It usually affects only one ear causing pain, redness and itching.
Otitis Media (Middle Ear Infection) occurs when a bacterial or viral infection affects the nasal passages, throat, and eustachian tubes.
Discharge or drainage
Tugging or pulling in children
Itching and irritation
There are multiple types of ear infections due to the various parts of the ear, but the most common is a middle ear infection or otitis media. The most common causes include:
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
A medical provider diagnoses an ear infection by combining a patient's medical history, physical examination, and sometimes additional tests. They will ask about symptoms like ear pain, fluid drainage from the ear, hearing loss, and fever. During the physical examination, the doctor uses an otoscope to look into the ear canal and assess the eardrum for redness, inflammation, fluid buildup, or other signs of infection. If necessary, they might use a pneumatic otoscope to check the eardrum's movement in response to pressure changes, which can help differentiate between different types of ear infections. In more complex cases or if treatment isn't effective, additional tests like tympanometry or even a culture of the ear fluid might be performed.
While self-diagnosis is not a substitute for professional medical evaluation, individuals can be attentive to certain symptoms that might suggest an ear infection. Symptoms of an ear infection can include ear pain, a sensation of fullness or pressure in the ear, fluid drainage from the ear, hearing loss, and sometimes fever. If there's a recent history of a cold or upper respiratory infection, it might increase the likelihood of an ear infection, especially in children.
The treatment of an ear infection typically involves a combination of approaches to alleviate symptoms and eliminate the underlying infection. In many cases, bacterial ear infections are treated with antibiotics to completely remove the infection and prevent long-lasting damage. However, in the case of mild and viral ear infections, the condition will typically resolve itself on its own. In some cases, physical interventions are needed when there is a blockage or fluid that will not drain
Home remedies can offer relief for mild ear infection symptoms, but they should not replace professional medical care, especially for severe or persistent infections. Here are a few home strategies that might help alleviate discomfort:
Warm Compress: Applying a warm, not hot, compress to the affected ear for about 20 minutes can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can provide temporary relief from ear pain. Follow the recommended dosage.
Garlic Oil Drops: Some people use garlic-infused oil drops (warm, not hot) in the ear. Garlic has natural antimicrobial properties, but be cautious and avoid using this if there's a perforation in the eardrum.
Hydrogen Peroxide Drops: Diluted hydrogen peroxide (3%) drops might help soften earwax buildup, but do not use if there's a perforation or active infection.
Sleeping Position: Elevating the head slightly while sleeping can help with fluid drainage and alleviate pressure.
Chewing or Yawning: Chewing gum or yawning can help relieve ear pressure by opening the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat.
Fluid Intake: Staying hydrated can thin mucus and help with congestion, which might indirectly relieve ear discomfort.
Avoiding Irritants: Minimize exposure to smoke and allergens, which can exacerbate ear irritation.
Alongside proscribed treatment, the ongoing handling of an ear infection will include symptom management until the condition subsides. Such measures include:
Symptom Monitoring: Pay attention to changes in symptoms; if no improvement or worsening occurs, contact a healthcare professional.
Pain Management: Use doctor-approved over-the-counter pain relievers to alleviate discomfort.
Rest: Prioritize rest and avoid activities that might worsen the condition or strain the affected ear.
Ear Hygiene: Maintain good ear hygiene, avoiding the insertion of objects and keeping the ear dry.
Warm Compress: Applying a warm, not hot, compress to the affected ear can provide relief and promote blood circulation.
Avoiding Water Exposure: Refrain from exposing the ear to water or moisture, including swimming or submerging in water.
Hydration: Staying well-hydrated supports the body's immune response and can aid in recovery.
Avoiding Air Travel: If possible, avoid air travel during the acute phase of the infection to prevent changes in air pressure from affecting the ears
The best method for preventing repeat or future ear infections is curbing the entry of foreign objects and microbes from the ear canal. The most common methods include:
Allergy Management: Managing allergies can reduce inflammation that might contribute to Eustachian tube dysfunction.
Avoid Inserting Objects: Avoid inserting objects, like cotton swabs, into the ear canal, as this can irritate and introduce germs.
Dry Ears After Water Exposure: After swimming or showering, gently dry the ears with a clean towel to prevent moisture buildup.
Hand Hygiene: Regularly washing hands with soap and water helps prevent the spread of germs that can lead to infections.
Treat Cold Symptoms Promptly: Treating cold and respiratory symptoms promptly can help prevent the spread of infection to the ears.
Feedback from our amazing patients!