Ear infections occur when bacteria or viruses enter the ear canal. As anyone who has ever experienced one can attest, they can be extremely painful and often are accompanied by a fever.
While many ear infections will get better on their own, some types require antibiotic treatment. The team at TexomaCare Urgent Care can diagnose ear infection symptoms and provide ear infection treatment to help you or a loved one feel better fast.
We also answer some of your most frequently asked questions so you can get the most out of your care.
Frequently-Asked Questions about Ear Infections
Q: What are the different types of ear infections?
- Otitis externa, commonly referred to as Swimmer’s ear, is an infection of the outer ear canal. It can cause the ear to itch, become red and swollen, or painful to the touch. There may also be pus that drains from the ear.
The treatment of Swimmer’s ear depends on the severity. Your doctor may prescribe ear drops or antibiotics to help with your healing.
- Acute otitis media (AOM) is a particularly painful ear infection that occurs when the area behind the eardrum (the middle ear) becomes infected. Symptoms of middle ear infections include pain, redness of the eardrum, pus in the ear, and fever.
Antibiotics are often prescribed to children for AOM, although AOM can typically resolve on its own.
- Acute otitis media with effusion (AOME) is when the eustachian tube gets blocked by fluid. This tube connects the inside of the ear to the back of the throat. Fluid behind the eardrum may build up for several reasons.
When you or your child has a cold, the middle ear can get filled with fluid just as the nose does – it just doesn’t run out as easily from the middle ear. Sometimes the fluid becomes infected, leading to AOME.
Even after an episode of AOME has been treated with antibiotics or has resolved on its own, fluid may remain in the middle ear and may take a month or longer to go away.
Q: What is the difference between an acute and chronic ear infection?
A: Acute ear infections are isolated cases that develop rapidly and tend to be extremely painful. They resolve on their own and tend to respond to antibiotic treatment.
Chronic ear infections are ones that do not fully heal or recur repeatedly over six months to a year. If you or your child are not responding well to over-the-counter medicines and treatments, your doctor may suggest other measures such as ear tubes to help the fluid drain.
Q: What are the common signs and symptoms of ear infections?
A: Ear infections are more common in children than adults and often present as fussiness or intense crying in infants, which can make them hard to diagnose. Younger children, in particular, can have difficulty expressing their symptoms. Watch for these common signs of an ear infection if you suspect your child might be struggling:
- Tugging/pulling on their ear
- Unusual trouble sleeping
- Excessive crying
- Loss of balance
- Loss of appetite
- Fever of 100℉ or higher
- Drainage of fluid or pus from ears
In adults, symptoms typically present as:
- Ear pain
- Drainage of fluids from the ear
- Trouble hearing
Q: Are there ways to prevent ear infections?
A: Ear infections in children are very common. However, there are ways to minimize your child’s risk. Preventive steps include:
- Getting your child vaccinated for the flu and pneumonia, both of which are common causes of ear infections.
- Don’t smoke or let others expose your child to secondhand smoke.
- Dry your child’s ears after swimming or bathing.
- Exclusively breastfeed your infant, if possible, until your baby is six months old and continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. Breastmilk contains antibodies that help fight infection.
Q: Should I go to urgent care for an ear infection?
A: While most ear infections are minor and can be easily treated, they can cause long-term issues like hearing damage if not properly addressed. An urgent care can be a great place to accurately diagnose your ear infection and learn about the best way to treat it. A specialist can also perform a hearing test to make sure there is no existing damage.
Contact Us Now
TexomaCare Urgent Care, located in Denison, Texas, Pottsboro, Texas and Durant, Oklahoma, is open seven days a week. We offer convenient daytime and evening hours for patients needing urgent care treatment. TexomaCare Urgent Care’s team of medical professionals is here to help with your or your child’s ear infection.