• Ear Infections 

    Ear Infections 

    Crying, whining and pulling at their ears may indicate that your child has an ear infection. If your child has had difficulty sleeping, has become irritable and has complained about ear pain then they probably have contracted an ear infection in one or both of their ears. Ear infections are extremely common in children and are usually benign. While they may be very painful, they don’t often cause secondary complications and usually resolve on their own. Ear infections can also affect adults and can be just as painful in adults and cause just as many symptoms. However, they are more common in children due to the difference in anatomy between children and adults. If your child has been complaining of their ears hurting and the symptoms don’t seem to be going away then you can find them help at Fast Pace Urgent Care. We can quickly see you and your child and give your child prompt treatment to alleviate their pain and treat their infection. Here at Fast Pace we care deeply about our communities and wish to help you and your family stay healthy and well. Come see us Fast Pace Urgent Care at the first sign of an ear infection and we’ll treat you or your child promptly and help you get back to your daily lives.

    Symptoms of Ear Infections

    Ear infections most commonly affect the middle ear and present with pain. The first symptom the majority of patients feel is pain in the infected ear. This pain occurs due to the buildup of both inflammation and fluids within the middle ear. As they progress, ear infections may also cause balance issues, dizziness and slight hearing loss. Since the onset of an ear infection is typically very rapid, severe symptoms can occur almost immediately after the first twinge of pain. Children are the most common culprits of ear infections, but adults do get them too. However, children tend to have different symptoms than adults. Symptoms of an ear infection in a child include:

    • Ear pain, especially when laying down
    • Tugging or pulling at the infected ear
    • Difficultly sleeping
    • Crying throughout the day and night
    • Irritability
    • Difficulty responding to sounds
    • Loss of balance
    • Fever
    • Fluid drainage from infected ear
    • Headache
    • Loss of appetite

    Adults have much simpler symptoms and tend to present with ear pain, fluid drainage and diminished hearing. In both children and adults ear infections can become very serious. You should see a doctor or call your child’s doctor immediately if symptoms last more than one or two days, the ear pain is severe, or pus or bloody discharge drains from the infected ear. Children should also immediately be taken to the doctor if they also have symptoms of an upper respiratory infection along with ear pain. If left untreated then severe ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss.

    What Causes Ear Infections?

    Ear infections are either caused by a bacterial or viral infection. The infection often results from another illness, such as a cold or the flu, that causes swelling of the Eustachian tubes in the ear. The Eustachian tubes are narrow tubes that run from the middle ear to the back of the throat. The distal ends of the tubes in the throat open and close to regulate pressure in the middle ear. They also drain normal secretions from the ear to keep the middle ear clear of excess fluid. Swelling and inflammation of the Eustachian tubes as a result of an upper respiratory infection, allergy, or the flu can block the distal end of the tubes. This results in the fluid accumulation inside the middle ear and can lead to bacterial or viral overgrowth in the fluid. After a few days, an ear infection may set in and patients will become symptomatic. Ear infections are more common in children than adults because their Eustachian tubes are narrower and are easily closed due to swelling or inflammation. Children with allergies are at an even higher risk of developing ear infections versus children without allergies due to the constant irritation of allergens in their environment which leads to swelling of their upper respiratory systems.

    What is the Treatment for Ear Infections?

    After seeing a doctor, the first step in treating ear infections is to treat the pain that is associated with them. Doctors may also assess the risk of any complications such as hearing loss from occurring as a result of the infection. Most ear infections resolve without any outside treatment, but if the pain is too much for children or adults to bear then antibiotics and pain medication may be prescribed. Antibiotics may also be prescribed in patients whose ear infections are severe and in patients who have high fevers. Common treatments for ear infections for both children and adults include:

    • Warm Compress
      • Warm compresses can be applied to the ear to help relieve pain and break up the excess fluid in the ear. A warm, moist washcloth can be laid over the ear in short increments of time to relieve pain.
    • Pain Medications
      • Pain medications may be prescribed for adults if the pain is severe. If the pain is mild then over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen are suggested.
    • Ear Drops
      • Ear drops may also provide pain relief for children and adults with ear infections. They are often prescribed to patients whose eardrums are intact and who need extra pain relief.
    • Ear Tubes
      • Children who constantly get ear infections may need ear tubes to help drain the excess fluid from their ears. If your child has three or more ear infections in six months then they may be a good candidate for ear tubes.

    How Can I Feel Better?

    Ear infections are never fun. Whether you are feeling ill yourself or your child is feeling under the weather, Fast Pace Urgent Care can help. At Fast Pace Urgent Care we treat all of our neighbors like family and would love to treat you or your children whenever you feel under the weather. Come see us if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of an ear infection and we’ll treat you promptly and with care.

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