Posts for tag: Ear Infection
Find out if your child’s earache will go away on its own or whether you need to see a doctor.
While ear infections are more common in children, this doesn’t mean that adults can’t still develop them, as well. Of course, it isn’t always as easy as you might think to determine whether or not you have an ear infection. While our Chesterfield, MO, otolaryngologist, Dr. Paul Burk, can treat ear infections, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and know whether or not you should visit a doctor for care.
There are three different types of ear infections:
- Acute otitis media: a painful infection that occurs when the middle ear (the area behind the eardrum) becomes inflamed
- Otitis media with effusion: when fluid builds up in the middle ear (this often occurs after a respiratory infection such as a cold)
- Otitis externa (or “Swimmer’s ear”): usually caused by a bacterial infection, otitis externa causes redness and swelling within the ear canal
The most common symptoms and signs of an ear infection are:
- Muffled hearing or loss of hearing
- Ringing in the ears
- Fullness or pressure in the ear
- Drainage from the ear
In young children who may not be able to tell you that they are experiencing an earache, their symptoms may include:
- Increased fussiness
- Crying when lying down
- Trouble sleeping
- Reduced appetite
- Not responding to certain sounds
- Increased clinginess
- Pulling or tugging at the ears
You may be able to just let the ear infection run its course
An ear infection is often the result of a bacterial or viral infection, causing buildup and inflammation of the middle ear. In many cases, you may notice your symptoms improving after a couple of days and some ear infections will go away on their own without treatment in about 1-2 weeks.
Sometimes doctors use a wait-and-see approach, particularly in children between the ages of 6 months to two years. When you give us a call, we will determine whether they will require antibiotics or not based on their age, the severity of their symptoms, and whether or not they have a fever.
Sometimes your ear infection may require medical treatment
While minor ear infections may go away on their own, it’s important to see your Chesterfield, MO, area ENT doctor if,
- You are experiencing severe pain
- You suddenly cannot hear out of the affected ear
- You suspect that your infant under 6 months old has an ear infection
- You suspect that your child has an ear infection and it’s accompanied by a high fever
- There is swelling or a lump that develops under or behind the ear
Our office in Chesterfield, MO, Dr. Burk and his team provide quality ear, nose and throat care to patients of all ages. If you or your child is dealing with the symptoms of an ear infection, give us a call today at (314) 576-7503.
Treating an ear infection is a relatively straightforward process that provides you with the relief that you need from pain and discomfort. Lack of prompt treatment for an ear problem could lead to further complications, including hearing loss, so it is best to see your ENT in Des Peres, De Paul, or St. Peters, MO, for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible if you suspect that you may have the condition!
Ear Infection Causes
There are three different types of ear infections: outer (Otitis Externa), middle (Otitis Media), and inner (Otitis Interna). The type of ear infection that you have will likely indicate the cause. Outer ear infections are usually caused by contact with outer elements (water, dirt, or allergens) that cause inflammation. Middle ear infections can be viral or bacterial, and are often caused by an allergic reaction from food or blockage inside the ear. Inner ear infections are related to other types of infections that are present in the body, such as sinusitis or tooth decay.
Treatments for Ear Infections
The way that your ENT in Des Peres, De Paul, or St. Peters, MO, decides to treat an ear infection will vary depending on the cause. In most cases, the solution will be antibiotic therapy (pills or eardrops). An analgesic eardrop medication may also help with pain. Some middle ear infections may have to be resolved by having a drainage tube surgically inserted to release fluids.
Ear Care Information
After diagnosing and treating your ear infection, your ENT will provide you with information about how to best care for your ears. Observe these simple tips to avoid future ear infections:
- When swimming, use earplugs to minimize the amount of water that sits on the ear.
- Keep objects out of your ear (especially children, as they are more prone to ear infections).
- Wash and sanitize your hands and fingers often.
- Avoid tobacco smoke.
- Have sinusitis, colds or the flu, tooth decay, and other infections promptly treated.
Your ENT Can Help
If you’re having symptoms that could be related to an ear infection, let an ENT check you out. Call today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul Burk at one of his offices in Des Peres, De Paul, or St Peters, MO. Dial (314) 821-5002 for St. Peters/Des Peres, and (314) 770-0708 for De Paul.
Pain, hearing loss, fever, and even a change in balance could indicate an ear infection. Affecting the outer part of the ear, the middle ear structures or the inner ear, otitis can become chronic. At Ear, Nose, Throat St. Luke Balloon Sinuplasty, Dr. Paul Burk treats scores of patients suffering from the discomforts of ear infections. Read below to learn the details on otitis interna, otitis externa, and otitis media, along with details on how your St. Luke's Hospital ENT doctor can help.
How and where infections happen
Your ear has three distinct sections: the outer ear, or pinna, made of flesh and cartilage, your middle ear, composed of the auditory canal and eardrum. and the complex bony inner ear which conducts sound vibrations that lead to the brain. Your Eustachian tube extends from the middle ear to the throat and is a frequent site of inflammation and mucous after a severe cold, flu, or other infection.
Although some parts are more prone to infection, any part of the ear may become infected. The outer part of the ear often suffers a bacterial infection called swimmer's ear. The middle ear is the site of typical ear problem called otitis media, which is especially prevalent in young children. The inner ear, or labyrinth, may also become inflamed, causing dizziness, imbalance, and nausea. Common to all these infections can be pain, fever, and temporary hearing loss.
Diagnosis and treatment
Physical examination by your St. Luke ENT physician, Dr. Paul Burk, is critical to staving off and healing any type of ear infection. Dr. Burk does a routine otolaryngeal check, including:
- A review of medical history, current medications, and symptoms
- Visual inspection in each ear with a lighted otoscope
- CAT scan and/or MRI imaging as needed
To treat pain, Dr. Burk often recommends over-the-counter analgesics such as ibuprofen or warm compresses to the affected side. Antibiotics, either in the form of ear drops or oral medications, are often prescribed and sometimes, anti-inflammatory steroids reduce swelling. Your physician will formulate a treatment plan to cure your acute infection and to help you avoid future infections if possible.
In children who have three or more ear episodes of otitis media in six months, many ENT physicians prescribe installation of ear tubes. These tiny tubes facilitate drainage of fluid from behind the ear drum, reports VeryWellHealth.
If you are seeking treatment for a suspected ear infection, call one of our three convenient offices located in De Paul (314-770-0708),St. Luke's Hospital (314) 576-7503, and Des Peres, MO (314-821-5002).
Find out if you or a loved one is dealing with an ear infection.
Yikes! You woke up with a nasty earache that seemed to have arrived almost out of the blue. Could it be an ear infection? Ear infections often show up suddenly and without much warning. They may appear on their own or as a complication of a respiratory infection such as a cold. Of course, it’s important that you know when to visit your St. Peters, MO, ENT doctor Dr. Paul Burk for care.
Childhood Ear Infections
While a child that is old enough to speak will tell you whether they are experiencing ear pain, pressure or difficulty hearing, this isn’t possible for babies and toddlers who can’t tell you what’s going on. In this case, it’s important to be able to check the nonverbal cues that could be trying to tell you that your little one might be dealing with an ear infection.
One of the most common signs is that your child may frequently tug and pull at the affected ear. They may become more irritable and fussy and they may have difficulty sleeping through the night because of the pain. In some cases, an earache may also be accompanied by a fever. If you notice that your little one suddenly seems like they aren’t hearing you, you need to take them in to see their St. Peters, MO, otolaryngologist right away.
Adult Ear Infections
Most people will know that they have an ear infection because they will suddenly notice a sharp, stabbing or continuous pain in the ear. The ear may also feel full and, as a result, sound may be muffled.
While symptoms may go away on their own, if you are dealing with severe pain or difficulty hearing you may require antibiotics to effectively treat the infection. Of course, if pain doesn’t go away after a couple of days, or if your symptoms are accompanied by a fever, then it’s time to see the doctor.
If you or your little one is dealing with an earache it’s important that you have a doctor you can turn to for the answers. Call our St. Luke's Hospital office right away and we will get you to see Dr. Burk as soon as possible.