Most people will deal with an ear infection at some point in their lives. This condition is very common among children but can affect people of all ages. There are many different ear infection symptoms. Regardless of the type of ear infection you have, you will want to deal with the pain and irritation right away. Keep reading to learn about ear infections so you can go to your doctor’s appointment informed.
Ear Infection Causes
Ear infections (also known as acute otitis media) are caused by a variety of things, but the most common causes are viral or bacterial infections in the middle part of the ear or excess fluid in the middle part of the ear. This part of your ear contains delicate eustachian tubes that are prone to fluid buildup and infection. Young children are most likely to get ear infections because their eustachian tubes are very small and have a difficult time clearing themselves out.
Eustachian tubes often get blocked due to excess fluid from another infection. Sinus infections, colds, tonsillitis, and allergies can all cause ear infections. While you’re most likely to get an ear infection from another illness (especially as an adult), other issues can cause infections too. Cigarette smoke and changes in altitude can both lead to ear infections. People can even cause ear infections themselves by inserting objects like cotton swabs in their ears.
Ear Infection Symptoms
Ear infection symptoms vary from person to person and might change depending on the cause of the infection. Some common ear infection symptoms are ear pain that can range from mild to severe, pressure or irritation inside the ear, changes in hearing, and fluid draining out of the ears. Babies and young children also tend to get fevers during ear infections.
Ear infection symptoms can occur in one or both of your ears. Symptoms might also change over time. Some people (usually children) with ear infections also experience a loss of balance, headaches, and/or changes in appetite. Because this issue is so common for kids, it’s important to consider an ear infection every time your child is under the weather.
When To See A Doctor
If you suspect you or your child have an ear infection, it’s important to see a doctor right away. While your symptoms might just seem annoying, they could be caused by an infection that requires prescription medication to treat. This is especially important if you or your child have a fever, hearing loss, or symptoms that do not get better after 7 days with over-the-counter medication.
While most ear infections can be treated with medication and home remedies like a warm cloth placed on the ear, chronic ear infections may require surgery to fix. Your doctor will be able to evaluate your symptoms and create a treatment plan that gives you long-term relief.
If you are dealing with an ear infection, help is available now.
Contact Dr. Michael Burnett at 212-867-4813 to schedule an ENT appointment today.