While more common in children, ear infections can happen at any age. Ear infections often clear up on their own after a few days. However, some infections require treatment from your ear, nose and throat doctor. Find out more about what causes ear infections and what you can do about them with your doctor at Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons of Western New England in Northampton, Ware and Springfield, MA.
Ear Infection Symptoms
The most obvious symptom of an ear infection is ear pain. However, other symptoms can help you determine if you are suffering from an ear infection. In adults, they include ear pain, fluid drainage from the ear and muffled hearing. Children, especially those who cannot yet talk, may exhibit different symptoms, including:
- tugging on the ear
- problems sleeping
- more irritable than normal
- crying more than normal
- balance issues
- loss of appetite
You should see your doctor if you or your child experience these symptoms more than a day or two, there is severe pain, you see blood or pus in fluid draining from the ear or if a child is under 6 months old.
Common Causes of Ear Infections
Ear infections can be viral or bacterial. The infection in the ear often occurs after the flu, common cold or allergies. Ear infections most often occur due to swelling and inflammation of the eustachian tubes, which regulate air pressure and drain the ear’s secretions. Children have smaller eustachian tubes, causing them to be more at-risk for ear infections than adults. Adenoids, which are pads of tissue located near the eustachian tubes, can also become inflamed to spark an ear infection.
Ear Infection Treatment in Northampton, Ware and Springfield
Your doctor uses various tests to determine the presence of an ear infection. Some ear infections go away on their own within the first few days. If your doctor recommends waiting to treat the infection, warm compresses and over-the-counter pain medications help relieve pain until the infection clears up. Antibiotics can treat bacterial ear infections. For recurring ear infections, your doctor may recommend ear tubes. These tubes, placed inside the ear canal, help drain fluids from the ear to prevent infection.
For more information on ear infections, please contact your doctor at Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons of Western New England in Northampton, Ware and Springfield, MA. Call to schedule your appointment for an ear examination today!