An ear infection can be excruciating for both children and adults. If it doesn’t go away on its own, even after home remedies or over-the-counter ear drops, it is best to visit a doctor. Highland Family Medicine doctors can help you diagnose and treat your ear infection effectively. If it’s bacterial or chronic, we can prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine. We have treated thousands of patients in Murfreesboro, TN, and we are confident that we can help you or your kids.
An ear infection (acute otitis media) is most often a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear.
Ear infections frequently are painful because of inflammation and the buildup of fluids in the middle ear.
Often, ear infections heal on their own; treatment may begin with managing pain and monitoring the problem. Ear infections in infants and severe cases in general often require antibiotic medications.
Long-term problems related to ear infections — persistent fluids in the middle ear, persistent infections, or frequent infections — can cause hearing problems and other serious complications.
Why Children Get Ear Infections More Often Than Adults
Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections. That’s because children have smaller eustachian tubes (they connect the middle ears to the back of your throat to drain fluid and equalize pressure). The small size makes it harder for them to drain fluid prone to bacterial growth.
An ear infection occurs when one of your eustachian tubes becomes swollen or blocked, causing fluid to build up in your middle ear. Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run from each ear directly to the back of the throat.
Causes of eustachian tube blockage include:
The onset of signs and symptoms of ear infection is usually rapid.
Children Ear Infection Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms common in children include:
Adults Ear Infection Signs and Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms in adults include:
These symptoms might persist or come and go. Symptoms may occur in one or both ears. Pain is usually more severe with a double ear infection (infection in both ears).
Chronic ear infection symptoms may be less noticeable than acute ear infections.
Children younger than six months who have a fever or ear infection symptoms should see a doctor. Always seek medical attention if your child has a fever higher than 102°F (39°C) or severe ear pain. Give us a call for an urgent appointment.
Most mild ear infections clear up without medical treatment, but acute and chronic infections need specialist attention. Some of the following methods are effective in relieving the symptoms of a mild ear infection:
If your symptoms get worse or don’t improve, you should schedule an appointment with us, and one of our specialists can help you get checked and treated.
We may prescribe antibiotics if your ear infection is chronic or isn’t improving. It’s necessary to finish your entire course of antibiotics as prescribed.
We may opt for surgery if your ear infection isn’t cured with the usual medical treatments. It may also be the best option if you have many ear infections over a short period of time.
If you have enlarged adenoids, we may require surgical removal of the adenoids.
Anyone, regardless of age, can get an ear infection. However, children are more prone to them than adults. Around 83% of kids will have an ear infection at least once before age three. It is also the most common reason parents bring their kids to a family doctor.
At Highland Family Medicine, we are very accustomed to ear infection cases, especially in kids. Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin know how to handle and treat children and can guide parents in preventing it from happening again. If you, or your child, have a painful ear and a fever that doesn’t go away for three days, you can call us to set an urgent appointment.
Highland Family Medicine and its doctors, Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin, have been serving and treating the community of Murfreesboro, TN, and surrounding areas for over two decades.
Collectively, they have treated more than 20,000 patients. Highland Family Medicine specializes in comprehensive health care for people of all ages, treating most ailments and non-emergencies.
Please don’t hesitate to call the Highland Family Medicine doctor’s office. Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin are professionals and ready to serve.