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Do You Have An Ear Infection?

As kids, many of us had ear infections fairly often. It seems like anyone who is fairly young, including infants, can have ear infections at least once a year. However, as we age, these issues seem to become less and less. However, it’s certainly possible for adults to have an ear infection. Learning if you have one and then dealing with it is very important since the ear affects more than just our hearing—it also affects our balance, and having an ear infection can make it difficult to walk and do other tasks.

What is an Ear Infection?

An ear infection occurs when bacteria get into the middle ear. This part of the ear sits behind the eardrum, and it actually connects to the throat through a tube. This tube is the Eustachian tube, and there’s one that goes to each ear. Bacteria can move through these tubes from the throat and the nose to the ears. Often, this occurs when you have a cold because it makes the tube swell up. Fluid then gets trapped in the middle ear, which becomes an ideal place for bacteria to start to multiple. This quickly leads to an infection.

The reason children tend to get more ear infections than adults is because their Eustachian tubes are not as large. This means it’s easier for them to get blocked up.

Symptoms

The biggest symptom you’ll experience with an ear infection is pain in your ear. It may start out as a fairly mild pain, but it can get worse very quickly. It can be difficult to sleep with an ear infection, plus you may also develop a fever. You may also see a yellow fluid draining out of the ear. This means that your eardrum has burst. It’s not serious—in fact, when it happens, you’ll usually feel less pain because the pressure is relieved. Your eardrum will heal on its own most of the time. If your eardrum doesn’t burst, the fluid will usually drain away on its own, but it can take days or even weeks.

With some infections, there is some minor hearing loss for a short amount of time. However, if you have hearing loss for more than a month, you should consult your doctor.

Treatment

In most cases, an ear infection will actually go away after several days or weeks. However, some children, especially those who are under two or have had frequent infections, may need to take a round of antibiotics. However, ear infections actually usually go away more quickly if you don’t take antibiotics.

Generally, those dealing with an ear infection can take over the counter pain medication to deal with the fever and other discomforts. They may also want to put a warm washcloth over the ear and get a lot of rest. There are also some eardrops that may help relieve the pain.

Finally, those who have repeat ear infections or have hearing issues may actually have to have tubes placed in their ears. This helps with the drainage.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.