he most common middle ear infection
is called acute suppurative otitis media. This is most common in children, less common in adults. It is usually due either to a bacteria or to a viral infection
. Oftentimes middle ear infection
s occur in association with a generalized upper respiratory tract infection
such as a cold or bronchitis. The most common symptom of an ear infection
in an adult or in older child is pain.
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The symptoms of an ear infection in adults are: Earache (either a sharp, sudden pain or a dull, continuous pain) A sharp stabbing pain with immediate warm drainage from the ear canal. A feeling of fullness in the ear.
The treatment of a middle ear infection depends on how bad the symptoms are and what’s causing the infection. Many infections will go away on their own and the only treatment necessary is medication for pain. Up to 80% of ear infections may go away without antibiotics.
Drugs, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil), help many adults with ear infections treat the pain associated with the accompanying inflammation.
Apply a warm cloth or warm water bottle to the affected ear.
Use over-the-counter pain relief drops for ears. Or, ask the provider about prescription eardrops to relieve pain.
Take over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain or fever. DO NOT give aspirin to children.
The exact treatment for your ear infection will depend on the type of infection you have. In general, if your symptoms don’t get better in 48 to 72 hours, contact your health care provider. Middle ear infections can cause long-term problems if not treated.
Younger children can not complain of pain since many of them can’t speak. Most commonly those children will present with a fever.
If it is felt that a middle ear infection is due to a bacteria, then antibiotics are used as treatment.
If it is felt that a middle ear infection is caused by a virus, then often only symptomatic treatment is indicated, that is to say, only a medication to relieve the pain.