Are you afraid that you may have an ear infection? Dr. Kirby Scott, your Hagerstown and Frederick, MD ENT doctor, shares some information about ear infections and explains what you can do to ease your pain.
More than just pain
Ear infections cause several other symptoms in addition to pain. If you have an infection, you may have trouble hearing due to mucus buildup in your inner ear. In some cases, ear infections cause the eardrum to perforate or burst. If this happens, you'll feel mucus draining from your ear. A fever of 101 or 102F is common with ear infections. Everyone doesn't develop a fever with the infection, so if you experience the other symptoms but don't have a fever, you may still have an infection.
Children tend to get more infections than adults due to smaller, more horizontal eustachian tubes. If your child is too young to share their symptoms with you, look for telltale ear infection signs, including fussiness, ear pulling and trouble sleeping. Babies and young children may not want to lie down because the position makes ear pain worse. Ear infections can cause pain when your child chews or swallows. If they aren't interested in eating or nursing, an ear infection may be to blame.
Treatment options in Hagerstown and Frederick
Doctors often use a "wait and see" approach to ear infection treatment to avoid over-prescribing antibiotics. In many cases, ear infections clear up on their own. Until they do, over-the-counter pain medication and warm compresses can reduce pain. If the pain doesn't begin to subside within a few days, your ENT will probably prescribe antibiotics.
The wait and see approach is only used in children six months or older. Babies normally receive antibiotics as soon as they're diagnosed with an ear infection. If your child has frequent ear infections or the infections no longer respond to antibiotics, your doctor may recommend placement of tubes in their ears to equalize pressure in the middle ear.
Don't let an ear infection disrupt your life. If your symptoms aren't getting better or you suffer from frequent infections, call Dr. Scott, your Hagerstown and Frederick, MD ENT doctor, at (301) 739-0400 to schedule an appointment.