Ear infections are a painful and irritating condition that affects both children and adults. The number of ear infections typically increases during the winter and early spring, along with the common cold, flu, strep throat, and more. It isn’t always possible to avoid an ear infection, but it’s still important to know what causes them and what your treatment options are!
Causes of an Ear Infection
Ear infections occur when a bacterial or viral infection reaches your middle ear. In most cases, an ear infection happens during or after someone is battling another bacterial or viral illness. As the illness spreads, it can reach the middle ear and then stay there, causing an ear infection. The best way to avoid an ear infection is to avoid illnesses like the common cold and flu, but as we all know, sometimes even the best preventative measures aren’t enough to keep those things at bay!
Ear Infection Symptoms
The symptoms of an ear infection in children are more severe than the symptoms of an ear infection in adults. Common symptoms in children include:
- Pulling on ears
- Ear pain that gets worse when the child is laying down
- General fussiness and discomfort
- Drainage from the ear
- Lack of interest in food that may be caused by nausea
Adults have much more mild symptoms with an ear infection, although they’re still very uncomfortable. Adults most often report ear drainage, pain in the ear, and a headache.
Rather you or your child is suffering from an ear infection, getting treatment promptly is important. Many ear infections require antibiotics and ear drops to help clear the infection. If you notice symptoms of an ear infection for more than a day, you have visible ear drainage, or severe pain, you should visit a doctor right away. The best place to go for same-day treatment of an ear infection is a nearby urgent care center. The experienced urgent care staff will be able to evaluate your symptoms, diagnose you, and provide a treatment plan to clear the infection all in one visit. In addition to urgent care treatment and antibiotics, you can use over the counter pain relievers and plenty of hydration to encourage your body to heal.
Leaving an ear infection untreated could lead to some potentially serious side effects, so it’s always best to go get a professional opinion if you think there’s even a chance you’re suffering from one!