It’s almost May, and while we may be approaching the tail end of flu season, sinuses, colds, and allergies remain in full swing. Ear infections are extremely common this time of year, especially in young children. In fact, they are the leading cause of trips to the pediatrician, accounting for 30 million doctor visits a year in the United States. That’s why we’re bringing you four things you need to know about ear infections so you can be prepared the next time you or your child is experiencing an earache. Let’s get started.
- Ear infections are caused by a fluid buildup in the middle ear.
The middle ear is supposed to be well ventilated by air to keep the ear dry. When there’s fluid in it, however, the airflow is blocked, making the area damp and warm — an ideal breeding ground for germs.
This issue is more common in children due to the fact that a child’s middle ear is often too soft and narrow; therefore, it has a harder time staying open.
- Symptoms of ear infections will vary from children to adults.
According to WebMD.com, the symptoms of an ear infection in adults are:
- Earache (in the form of either a sharp, sudden pain or a dull, continuous pain)
- A sharp, stabbing pain followed by warm drainage from the ear canal
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
- Muffled hearing
- Ear drainage
The symptoms of an ear infection in children are:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Poor sleep
- Ear drainage
- Crying at night when lying down
- Low appetite
- There are several natural remedies that will help with the pain until you’re able to see a healthcare professional.
Ear pain is very uncomfortable, and it is certainly difficult to see your child in pain. Until you can get in to see a healthcare professional, try out these home remedies to help with the pain.
- Place a warm compress over the affected ear.
- Try an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol or Advil. Avoid giving your child aspirin due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome.
- Gargling salt water may help clear the Eustachian tubes.
- Try to avoid lying down as often as possible in order to help drain your middle ear.
- Your local First Care Clinic can provide timely treatment for you or your little one.
At First Care, ear infections are one of the most common ailments we treat — especially around this time of year. Our staff is dedicated to bringing you the highest quality care in the timeliest of manners, so you can get on your way to feeling better as quickly as possible. For an ear infection, this would include reviewing your or your child’s symptoms and a simple look inside the ear with an otoscope to determine the appropriate treatment.
Click here to find your local clinic, and feel free to leave your favorite earache home remedy below in the comments.