Ear infections or acute otitis media (AOM) is an infection in the middle of the ear, the air-filled space after the eardrum, containing tiny vibrating ear bones. Children are more prone to ear infections than adults.
Symptoms of ear infection
Often, an ear infection gets better by itself within three days. One might likely go through the following symptoms:
- Ear pain
- Increase in body temperature
- Falling sick
- Lack of energy
- Difficulties in hearing
- Discharge from ear
- Pressure inside ear
- Itching and irritation around or in the ear
- Scaly ear skin
Since children are more likely to suffer from an ear infection, their symptoms include:
- Not reacting to sounds
- Restless or irritable
- Avoiding food
- Pull or rub their ears
- Losing balance
Self-treatment for ear infection
- Place a cold or hot fabric on the ear.
- Wipe the discharge from the ear with cotton.
- Sleep upright
- Avoid inserting anything into the ear to remove the ear wax.
- Don’t let water or shampoo run into the ear.
- Children under 16 shouldn’t take any aspirin.
When to consult a doctor for an ear infection?
- Ear ache for more than three day
- Ear aches with high body temperature
- Ear swelling
- Discharge from ears
- Hearing loss
- Medical conditions like diabetes, lung, kidney, heart, or neurological disease.
- Weak immune system due to chemotherapy
What happens during ear infection treatment?
- A doctor often uses an otoscope to look into the ear. Specific otoscopes blow a small puff of air into the ear to check for blockages (a sign of an ear infection).
- The doctor might prescribe medication depending on the reason behind the ear infection.
- If one has a boil or spot, the doctor might pierce with a needle to drain the pus.
Prevention for ear infections
- Make sure that children are up to date with all the required vaccinations.
- Safeguard children from smoky environments.
- Don’t insert cotton swab or fingers inside ears
- Use swimming hats or earplugs while swimming
- Avoid water or shampoo getting into ears
Get yourself treated for conditions that might affect the ears, like eczema or allergy to hearing aids.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 23 JUNE 2022