Ear Infection Treatment Q&A
Are you having pain inside your ear or a discharge running out of your ear? Ear infections can be painful so worry not as we have convenient locations to serve you in Alexandria VA, and Ruther glen VA. For more information contact us or book an appointment Now.
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Ear infections are a common problem that can be caused by a number of different things. They are most often caused by a bacterial or viral infection which can accompany other symptoms and may occur alongside other illnesses, such as the flu and other illnesses. People may get an ear infection when mucus or wax accumulates in the ear canal. These substances can block the ear canal, causing a headache and ear infections.
There are different types of ear infections, which are classified into groups based on the area of the ear where the infection occurs.
• Ear canal (otitis externa, “swimmer’s ear”)
• Middle ear (otitis media)
Following respiratory infections such as the common cold or flu, symptoms of an ear infection may also occur.
Symptoms of an ear infection include:
• Ear pain
• Discharge from the ear (otorrhea)
Frequently caused by otitis externa (“swimmer’s ear”):
• Itching in the ear
• Hearing loss
Often caused by otitis media:
• Fullness in the ear
• Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
• Spinning sensation (vertigo)
Ear infections in the outer canal (otitis externa, or “swimmer’s ear”) are most often caused by:
• Bacterial overgrowth in the ear canal due to moisture mixing with earwax and debris
• Moisture can enter the ear canal from bathing, swimming, or diving
• Overuse of cotton swabs in the ear
Ear infections in the middle ear (otitis media) are most commonly caused by the following:
• Bacteria; Common bacterial causes of middle ear infections are Moraxella catarrhalis, Streptococcus pneumonia, and Haemophilus influenza.
• Viruses; Common viral causes of middle ear infections are RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and flu (influenza) virus.
• Fluid from the sinuses can back up through the Eustachian tubes, the inner canals that connect the throat to the middle ear; this can occur when the sinuses or throat are inflamed from infection (from an allergy attack, sinusitis, or a cold). The backed-up fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear, which creates the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, leading to an over-proliferation of pathogens.
There are a number of preventative measures you can implement in order to avoid getting an ear infection, including:
• Avoid cigarette smoke—exposure to tobacco smoke can irritate the ears, leading to inflammation and other symptoms.
• Control allergies—ear infections are intrinsically linked to allergies, and can occur alongside one another, especially when the upper respiratory system is affected.
• Practice good hygiene—staying clean can prevent the accumulation and proliferation of bacteria that lead to ear infections.
• Keep ears clean and dry—getting water in the ears is one of the most common factors involved in ear infections, so it is imperative to keep them dry.
In some cases, ear infections can clear up on their own, but certain situations require specialized care, including when any of the following symptoms occur alongside an ear infection:
• Stiff neck
• Severe ear pain
• A fever over 104ºF
• The walk is not steady
• Physically very weak
• Signs of facial weakness (crooked smile)
• Bloody/pus-filled fluid draining from the ear
• Symptoms are not better/have gotten worse
You should also book an appointment with your healthcare provider if you feel that you require medical attention; trust your own intuition and do not delay care.
If you have an ear infection, come to PACS Urgent Care for top-quality care and a quick recovery. Contact us today to book an appointment with our sprains and strains treatment specialist, or visit one of our two Virginia clinics; we have one in Ruther glen VA, and one in Alexandria VA. We look forward to serving you. We serve patients from Alexandria VA, Ruther Glen VA, Bagdad VA, Athens VA, Balty VA, and Doswell VA.
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