Ear Infections in Children | Ask Dr Sears

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  • November 29, 2016
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I’ve had my ears repierced, um, six, maybe seven times? General and pediatric otolaryngologists alike perform thousands of these simple and quick procedures every year, often several times in a single hour! It’s the thing that made crust while your ears were healing, but long after you stopped seeing blood from the piercing. Helmer was alerted to the presence of the unwanted tenant by a sharp pain in his ear, which woke him up. If you have a nickel allergy, the symptoms will start within 12 to 48 hours after putting the earrings in. Cartilage piercings take significantly longer to heal than those that go through a flap of skin, like an earlobe. If your child has pain, redness, or pus in their ear, along with a fever, these are signs of acute ear infection, which may be caused by either bacteria or viruses.

You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. 2003). Are you bound by your insurance to wait for a referral before seeing a specialist? The middle ear space contains the small bones that conduct the vibrations of the ear drum to the brain and is also connected to the back of the nose via the Eustachian tube. An injury to the side of the head or a blow to the ear can also tear the eardrum. Everybody wants me to say that in a matter of days you’ll be wearing funky 8mm UV acrylic plugs… this isn’t the case, so don’t stretch your ears if you’re not prepared to wait! This is why most ear infections occur during or shortly after colds or allergic episodes.

This procedure is also performed under general anesthesia. The eardrum usually closes without a residual hole at the tube site but in a small number of cases a perforation can persist. This environment is a breeding ground for the bacteria that normally live in the nose and throat to begin to overgrow. My son had ear infections once a month for the first year of his life. The result is an ear infection. Pus begins to form and soon the middle ear space is filled with bacteria, pus and thick mucus. The discharge that collects in the middle ear presses on the eardrum preventing it from vibrating normally and dampens the conduction of those vibrations in the small bones.

This is what the doctor means by “fluid in the middle ear.” Also the fluid plugs the Eustachian tube and dampens the sound like the sensation in your ears during air travel. No, the bacteria inside the ear causing the infection is not contagious. However, the cold virus that can lead to an ear infection is contagious. Oftentimes, if the ear infection occurs a week after the cold begins, the child is no longer contagious. Right upper wisdom tooth is now been excited. Ear pain – click here for more help on how to treat the pain. Both of these things are signs of a bacterial infection, which can be treated effectively with antibiotics.

You can safely use both medications together if one alone is not enough. Click on each medication for the dosage. Warm compression – apply a warm washcloth to the ear. Warm olive oil, vegetable oil, or garlic oil – put several drops of one of these into the ear. Ear tubes are often recommended when a person experiences repeated middle ear infection (acute otitis media) or has hearing loss caused by the persistent presence of middle ear fluid (otitis media with effusion). Anesthetic ear drops – if the above remedies aren’t enough, these are available by prescription and can numb the eardrum to minimize the pain for an hour or two. WARNING – if you see any liquid or pus draining out of the ear, DO NOT PUT ANY OF THE ABOVE DROPS INTO THE EAR.

See below under ear drainage. Xylitol and ear infections –  chewing gum sweetened with xylitol has been shown to reduce some chronic ear infections (and it helps prevent tooth decay as well). Take your child to hospital or call an ambulance straight away. Xlear® is a nasal spray containing xylitol that was originally developed to prevent ear infections. Using it will help keep your child’s nose clean and wash out many of the bacteria that cause these infections. Antibiotics – a seven-day course is the current recommendation, unless your doctor feels a longer course is indicated. The whole issue of antibiotics can be confusing to parents, so here are some general guidelines to help you: Amoxicillin – “the pink stuff” – this is the standard first-line treatment used by most doctors, and rightly so.

It works well most of the time, is inexpensive, tastes pretty good, and is easy on the stomach and intestines. Azithromycin, Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulinate mix), double dose amoxicillin, cefuroxime – these are all common second and third line choices. A new combination of Augmentin plus extra amoxicillin called Augmentin ES has been shown to be very effective in treating resistant ear infections. Your doctor may prescribe both. I rinse mine every day with water in the shower and clean with Dr. L. If we are certain there’s an ear infection, we give antibiotics.

The fluid slowly drains out through the Eustachian tube down into the nose. Sometimes an oral antibiotic is still needed. Chronic nasal congestion or allergies can block the Eustachian tube and therefore prevent the ears from draining. Your child’s hearing may be muffled until the fluid drains out. This is not permanent. See below how to prevent ear infections with tips on how to improve ear drainage. IMPORTANT NOTE: Try to avoid over-treating with unnecessary repeated courses of antibiotics.

At your follow-up visit with your doctor, there may still be fluid in the middle ear. If the ear is not red or bulging and your child is acting fine, you may not need another course of antibiotics. Doctors will vary in how aggressive they like to treat ear fluid. You may be able to spare your child from an unnecessary course of antibiotics. Continuous exposure to other children increases the risk that your child will catch more colds, and consequently more ear infections. Crowded daycare settings are a set up for germ sharing. If possible, switch your child to a small, home daycare setting.

This will lower the risk. When a runny nose and cold start, do your best to keep the nose clear by using steam, saline nose drops, and suctioning. Also try Xlear® nasal spray which contains xylitol that can help prevent viruses and bacteria from attaching in your child’s nose. This includes in your home, your car or at child care. If your child is having frequent ear infections, more aggressive prevention may be indicated. There are different opinions as to the definition of chronic ear infections. How many is too many?

Ear tubes. These are tiny tubes that an ENT specialist inserts into the eardrum under general anesthesia. They usually stay in place for 6 months to over a year. There are several purposes achieved by tubes: To drain chronic ear fluid that may turn into “glue ear.” To provide an outlet for middle ear fluid to drain out as it begins to collect during a cold. This may help prevent a full ear infection from occurring. To preserve hearing and timely speech development by avoiding long months of muffled hearing caused by middle ear fluid. – Use cotton wool balls dipped in the salty water to gently wipe both ears, back and front.

To help prevent the rare complication of chronic hearing loss caused by recurrent ear infections. Some doctors may be too quick to recommend ear tubes before exhausting all other preventative measures or before allowing enough time to allow the ears to clear up without surgery. • How long does it take for swimmer’s ear to clear up? The tubes often leave a little scar covering approximately one sixth of the eardrum. This scar is often permanent. There does not seem to be any long-term consequence of this scarring, but we’re not completely sure. Please note that recurrent ear infections with or without eardrum rupture can also lead to scarring.

If you do not have surgery performed at this time, it is advisable to have regular examinations, especially if the ear is draining. Some children will still get as many infections even with the tubes in, but the fluid drains out right away. Many children benefit from ear tubes, parents declaring their child is a new person; The ear infections are gone, hearing has improved, no more sleepless nights with a crying child, no more endless courses of antibiotics. A general indication for tubes are chronic ear fluid for more than four to six months, more than three ear infections in six months or more than five in one year. You and your doctor should decide together when it is the right time for ear tubes for your child.

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