Middle ear infection

A middle ear infection typically affects children below 8 years of age. The middle ear is the region behind the eardrum.

An ear infection typically starts with a viral infection of the throat and nose. Common cold might trigger an ear infection. An infection can also develop if an individual has allergies. A viral infection or an allergic response by the body can trigger swelling of the Eustachian tube which traps bacteria in the middle ear which leads to the development of a bacterial infection.

The pressure due to the accumulation of fluid or pus inside the ear oftentimes leads to the rupture of the eardrum.

What are the indications?

An individual with a middle ear infection might have one or several of these symptoms:

  • Hearing loss
    Middle ear infection

    An over-the-counter pain medication might be given for relief to the pain. The dosage instructions must be strictly followed.

  • Fever
  • Ear pain
  • Dizziness
  • Blocked sensation in the ear

Management of a middle ear infection

  • The doctor might suggest waiting for 1-3 days to check if the symptoms of a middle ear infection settle on their own before antibiotics are prescribed.
  • A decongestant might be recommended in oral or nasal form to clear up the Eustachian tube. This helps lessen the pressure in the middle ear.
  • An over-the-counter pain medication might be given for relief to the pain. The dosage instructions must be strictly followed.

Other self-care measures include:

  • Applying a warm compress or hot water bottle over the affected ear
  • If there is ear discharge, wipe it away with a towel or cloth and loosely plug the ear with cotton to catch additional drainage.
  • For fever, the individual should rest until the temperature drops below 100 degrees F.

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