Ear infections most frequently affect children and can be painful and distressing for them to cope with, though such infections in adults shouldn’t be taken lightly either. If either you or your child is experiencing the symptoms of an ear infection, you would benefit from talking to Dr. Robert A. Ehrhard, MD, in Jasper, Indiana. Dr. Ehrhard is a specialist ear, nose, and throat doctor who welcomes patients of all ages to his clinic, where you can expect the highest standards of patient care. Schedule an appointment online or by phone today.
An ear infection, or acute otitis media, is caused by a virus or bacteria entering your middle ear behind the eardrum and multiplying. The infection often starts during or after a respiratory tract infection or when other conditions cause swelling and congestion in your nasal passages and throat.
The middle ear is a hollow space that contains tiny bones essential to your hearing. It’s connected to the back of your throat by the eustachian tubes, a pair of narrow channels that regulate air pressure and facilitate drainage of fluids out of the middle ear.
Blockage of the eustachian tubes leads to fluids being unable to drain, creating a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and viruses that cause the symptoms of an ear infection.
Children are more prone to ear infections than adults, and often become severely distressed due to the pain caused by the inflammation and fluid accumulation in the middle ear.
Ear infections are frequently painful, and the pain may be severe. Other symptoms may include:
Children with an ear infection are often irritable and weepy, and may pull or rub their ear. They may also have a fever above 100ºF.
Ear infections often clear up on their own, but you should contact Dr. Ehrhard in the following situations:
An adult with ear pain or fluid coming out of their ear should seek immediate medical advice.
In the first instance, you can take over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications, or give your child pain-relieving medicine. Dr. Ehrhard may prescribe antibiotics or a procedure called a myringotomy to drain fluid from the middle ear, depending on the cause of the infection and age of the patient.
To discuss your child’s ear infections or get treatment for your own painful ear problems, call the office of Dr. Robert A. Ehrhard, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.