Ear Infections

What is an ear infection?

An ear infection is typically caused by a blocked eustachian tube normally caused by a cold, allergy, or upper respiratory infection. The presence of the bacteria or virus within this blockage can lead to fluid buildup of pus or mucus behind the eardrum. This causes otitis media, or an ear infection, the buildup of the blockage causes pressure which leads to the common symptoms of earache, swelling, and redness.

How serious are ear infections?

If gone untreated ear infections can become very serious. Severe ear infections can lead to severe pain and hearing loss. Otitis media can also spread to nearby structures of the head causing more infection. It is important to recognize the symptoms of an ear infection so that it can be treated quickly. And because UrgENT accepts walk-ins you can be seen the same day that you start to experience symptoms.

Ear Infections treated at urgENT

Common Symptoms

In infants or toddlers:

  • Pulling or scratching at the ear
  • Hearing problems
  • Crying or irritability
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Ear drainage

In children and adults:

  • Earache
  • Feeling pressure
  • Hearing problems
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Ear drainage
  • Fever

How will the doctor diagnose and treat my ear infection?

Once you are in the office the doctor will use an otoscope to look in the ear and assess it. The doctor will check for in the ear as well as a buildup of fluid behind the ear drum. The doctor may also use puffs of air to see if the eardrum moves. If it does not then that means that an infection is probably present.

Some other tests may be performed by the doctor.

Audiogram

The doctor may check to make sure that your ear infection hasn't caused hearing loss by using tones at different pitches.

Tympanogram

The doctor may also check to see how well the eustachian tube is actually working by measuring the air pressure in the middle ear as well as how well the eardrum moves.

Ear testing done at urgENT for infections

Treating My Ear Infection

The doctor will prescribe medications to combat your ear infection. It is important to take the medication as directed because the medication typically gets rid of the earache very quickly. This means that people may stop taking the medicine and the infection will get severe again. Taking the medication as long as prescribed will ensure that the infection is completely gone.

Remember that prompt and proper treatment of an ear infection is important. At UrgENT we can see you on the same day you start to experience symptoms so don’t delay.

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