Ear infections are a common occurrence, especially in children. However, adults and teenagers can also get ear infections, so it is essential to understand the symptoms that occur with this medical issue. Acute otitis media is the medical terminology for an ear infection, and in some cases, you can care for this condition at home with simple remedies. However, if the problem doesn’t go away, then you should visit an ENT to avoid complications. Some individuals are more prone to having ear infections, and this condition may occur with, after, or before other health problems such as sinus infections, sore throats, bronchitis, or colds.
An ear infection may occur in different parts of the ear, and the infection can spread throughout the ear or to other nearby regions of the head. This medical problem is caused by a virus or bacteria, and in many cases, a physician can’t determine the exact reason for having an ear infection. If you have recurrent ear infections, then you should visit an ear, nose, and throat specialist to determine if you have an abnormality of the ear or to learn if you have allergies that are leading to the problem.
What Are the Symptoms of an Ear Infection?
The symptoms from ear infections vary for each individual, and you may have more than one symptom. Some of the most common problems from an ear infection include:
• Chronic or intermittent pain that may radiate throughout the face
• A red or swollen outer ear
• Muffled sounds
• A feeling of fullness in the ear
• A runny discharge from the ear
• Pain in the jawbone or teeth
• Sinus congestion
• An overall fever as your body fights the infection
Infants and toddlers may pull or rub at their ears to try to relieve the pain and stuffiness from an ear infection. Earaches or infections are often part of common childhood diseases, and adults can also have secondary ear infections while they have colds or influenza.
What Should You Do When You Have an Ear Infection?
By taking over-the-counter pain relievers, using a warm compress above or below the outer ear and resting, you or your children will feel better in a few hours or days, but if the condition gets worse, then you may need prescription medications such as antibiotics. Occasionally, an ear infection is caused by excessive wax buildup or having a foreign object in the ear. Young children may also stick things into their ears, leading to an infection. If you scratch at your outer or inner ear with dirty fingers, then you can introduce pathogens that cause an infection.