Types of ear infections: Causes, symptoms & how to get help | HealthPartners Blog

Your auricle has been itchy always since you swam in that fetid pool. Your toddler has been tugging on their ear for the last workweek. Your aged mother, who ’ s equitable recovered from pneumonia, has ear pain and is feeling dizzy. Are these all signs of auricle infections ?
They can be. Different types of ear infections have varying symptoms and affect people in unlike ways. Read on for answers about ear annoyance, itchy ears, the difference between viral and bacterial auricle infections, and more .

What causes an ear infection?

Ear infections start when fluid containing bacteria or viruses get trapped in your ear. Over time, these trapped germs can grow into an ear infection .
These germs often come from other illnesses that cause swelling and congestion in your adenoidal passages and throat. That ’ mho why symptoms of ear infections can show up 2-7 days after the beginning of a cold or amphetamine respiratory contagion. But these germs can besides come from body of water that you swim or bathe in.

Are ear infections contagious?

No, but viruses and bacteria that cause ear infections can spread from one person to another. In other words, you can ’ triiodothyronine give person your ear infection, but you can spread the germs that caused it .

Can an ear infection be a sign of COVID-19?

There ’ s no clinical data that shows a connection between auricle infections and COVID-19. however, it ’ s potential that newer strains of COVID-19 may affect people in unlike ways .
Although COVID-19 and auricle infections can cause fever and concern, with COVID-19 you don ’ metric ton normally get ear pain, hearing loss or fluid drain from the ear. besides, keep in mind that it ’ s possible to get the influenza and COVID-19 at the like time – and viral auricle infections can sometimes be caused by the influenza .

What are the symptoms of an ear infection?

Fluid and germs can get stuck in the outer, inner or in-between region of the ear, causing different types of auricle infections and symptoms .

Outer ear infections

An external auricle infection is much referred to as swimmer ’ s ear. It ’ s possible for bacteria to grow in the water that ’ second left in your ear after swimming or bathing. This normally international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate a problem. But, if you have a abrasion or afflictive on your ear, it can lead to a bacterial infection .

Common outer ear infection symptoms

  • Redness on the outer ear
  • Itchiness
  • Ear pain and congestion
  • Yellow or yellow-green discharge
  • Swollen ear or neck
  • Hearing changes or loss
  • Fever, usually between 100-104 degrees Fahrenheit

Inner ear infections

This type of auricle infection, besides known as labyrinthitis, happens when your inner ear gets swell or irritate because of a cold, influenza, allergies or another condition such as meningitis .

Common inner ear infection symptoms

  • Dizziness, nausea and vomiting
  • Ear pain
  • Balance issues
  • Hearing changes or loss

Middle ear infections

middle ear infections are known as otitis media. They are the most coarse type of ear infection, specially in children. center ear infections normally happen when the Eustachian tubes that connect your ears to your throat are swollen from a cold, influenza or allergies .
When your Eustachian tubes are working normally, they drain fluid from the middle ear. But if they ’ rhenium swell because you ’ rhenium disgusted, the fluid can ’ thymine drain. rather, that fluid collects behind your eardrum and makes it more probable for germs to grow into an ear infection .
It ’ second besides possible for swell adenoids ( lumps of tissue in the back of the nose ) to prevent ear fluid from draining. If the adenoids are enlarged or irritated, they can block the opening of the Eustachian tube .

Common middle ear infection symptoms

  • Ear pain
  • Fever, usually between 100-104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Headaches
  • Fluid coming from the ear
  • Hearing changes or loss
  • Balance issues
  • Sore throat

sometimes people can have symptoms of a middle auricle infection such as hearing passing without actually having an contagion. This is caused by excitement and fluid buildup in the middle ear. Hearing normally goes back to normal once the fluid drains – which could take weeks. Learn about hearing tests and when to get them .

How can I tell if my infant or child has an ear infection?

If your little one has an ear infection, they won ’ t be able to tell you in words, but you ’ ll probable be able to tell through their actions. Chances are, they ’ ll :

  • Be fussy
  • Pull at their ears and cry
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Have a fever, usually between 100-104 degrees Fahrenheit

How do you know if an ear infection is viral or bacterial?

It can be difficult to tell, at least in the begin. If you or your child is recovering from a virus ( cold or influenza ), it ’ s credibly more likely you ’ rhenium dealing with a viral ear infection. If streptococcus throat or pneumonia has been in the house, there ’ randomness a greater luck that it ’ randomness bacterial. But that ’ s not always the font .
Symptoms are exchangeable with viral and bacterial infections. One deviation is you have a higher fever with a bacterial ear infection. however, fevers can besides happen with viral infections .
much, it ’ s a piece of a wait game. If the ear contagion goes away on its own within a week or so, you can assume it was caused by a virus. If it isn ’ thymine better after a week, it might be a bacterial infection and you should decidedly seek medical treatment .

Who is most likely to get an ear infection?

Anyone can get an ear infection. But you ’ re more likely to get auricle infections if you have allergies or other conditions that cause congestion. You may besides get more ear infections if you have a weakened immune system and are often vomit .
A person ’ s anatomy can besides increase their prospect of getting an ear infection. That ’ mho why ear infections are more park in young children and in people with parturition defects or aesculapian conditions, such as cleft palate or Down syndrome .

Ear infections in children

Why do children get ear infections?

Infants and young children between 3 months old and 3 years old are much more probable to get ear infections than adults. In fact, most children will have at least one ear infection. The independent reasons are :

  • Differences in Eustachian tubes. These tubes in your ears are shorter and narrower when you’re younger, so it’s easier for them to become blocked. Additionally, the tubes in infants and young children are usually more horizonal than those in adults which means that it’s harder for fluid to drain.
  • Their developing immune organization. When infants are about 6 months old, they start losing some of the immunity they were born with. At the same time, babies start becoming more social, sharing both toys and germs. Breastfeeding is one effective way to help strengthen your child’s immune system.

What can increase your child’s risk for ear infections?

  • Being exposed to cigarette fastball. Cigarette smoke irritates the Eustachian tubes and causes them to swell.
  • Lying flat while bottle eating.

    Milk or formula can travel up the Eustachian tubes, causing irritation and swelling.

  • Pacifier use. Using a pacifier can affect how the Eustachian tubes work. But using a pacifier can be helpful in safe sleep for babies and preventing sudden infant death syndrome. So, talk to your doctor about when your baby should stop using a pacifier – most of the time it’s when they’re about 6 months old.
  • Being in a large childcare center. More kids mean more germs, making it more likely that your child could get repeat ear infections.

Ear infections in adults

What risk factors make certain adults more likely to get an ear infection?

Adults with cut immune systems and certain checkup conditions may be more probably to get auricle infections. For model, if you have diabetes, it can cause an inflammatory response throughout your body – including your middle and inner auricle. Having skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis may besides increase the chance that you get an outer auricle infection .

How long do ear infections last?

In many cases, ear infections clear up in a couple of weeks without discussion. But some ear infections can stopping point for months .
thus why do some ear infections last longer than others ? The reasons include your health, the location of the infection and what ’ s causing the infection. inner ear infections tend to stick around longer than infections of the middle or knocked out ear. And infections caused by bacteria normally last longer than ones caused by viruses .

When is an ear infection considered to be chronic?

If an ear contagion lasts for more than three months, it ’ mho considered chronic. If chronic ear infections aren ’ t treated, it can lead to hear passing and other unplayful problems. In children, chronic ear infections can affect their ability to achieve developmental milestones, like walking and talking .

Is a chronic ear infection curable?

If your child has an ear infection for a few months and it ’ s affecting their ability to hear, your doctor may recommend a minor operation to put in ear tubes for chronic ear infections .
During ear tube operation, an ear, nose and throat ( ENT ) doctor of the church inserts little fictile or metal tubes into the eardrum. These tubes help drain the built-up fluid that can cause ear infections. Ear tubes normally fall out on their own within about a year .

What are recurring ear infections?

People of all ages can get frequent ear infections, but they are particularly common in children – about 25 % of children experience repeat ear infections. If you or your child has three or more ear infections in a six-month time period or four within one year, it ’ s a dear theme to talk to your sophisticate about treatment options .

Are recurrent ear infections curable?

Your doctor of the church may recommend ear tube surgery to make it less likely for you or your child to get future ear infections .
Your doctor may besides suggest a tonsillectomy to remove infected tonsils and adenoids. This operating room involves removing lumps of weave from the back of your nose and throat. Getting a tonsillectomy may make it easier for fluid to drain from your ears, reducing the find of trap fluid that can cause an ear infection. A tonsillectomy is normally alone recommended when antibiotics and ear tubes don ’ t work .

What should I do about an ear infection?

If it ’ s entirely been a couple of days and the alone symptom has been ear annoyance, you don ’ t need to head to the sophisticate right aside. Because many ear infections go away on their own, it ’ s likely your doctor will want to wait and see how the symptoms improve before providing prescription medicines .
In the interim, concentrate on getting lots of remainder. Sleeping strengthens the immune system and helps the body fight off infections and early sickness .
If the auricle infection is causing pain or discomfort, there are treatments for ear infections you can try at home. One of the dim-witted is using a warm compress to dull the trouble. Just soak a washcloth in warm water, wring out the excess water system and then hold it against the infect ear for up to 20 minutes. If it helps, reapply the compress throughout the day .
If your child is over 3 months old, an over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen ( Tylenol ) can besides help with the pain – just make sure you ’ re using an age-appropriate dose. If you have questions, contact your doctor or harbor note .

When should I go to the doctor for an ear infection?

While many ear infections can be treated at home, some need checkup attention. You ’ ll want to talk to a doctor or nanny if :

  • Your baby has a fever, especially if they are younger than 3 months old, or if your older baby’s temperature is above 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The ear infection symptoms aren’t getting better after a couple of days.
  • There’s fluid draining from the ear.
  • You or your child is experiencing changes or loss of hearing.
  • The infection has lasted for more than six weeks.
  • You or your child is experiencing frequent or recurrent ear infections.

However you want to talk to us, we’re all ears

We ’ ra here to make sure you get the wish you need, day or night. here are wish options that may work based on your needs :

Nurse Line

If you ’ re wondering what to do about your child ’ s fever or how to manage minor ear infection symptoms, a bang-up topographic point is to start is with the HealthPartners CareLine. Our members and patients can call us 24/7 day at 800-551-0859 or 952-993-4665 .

Virtuwell visit

You can start an on-line Virtuwell visit any time, day or night to get an auricle contagion diagnosis and discussion plan for yourself or a child over historic period 5. In general, the doctor will prescribe a treatment plan that ’ s a combination of nonprescription ( OTC ) pain relievers. In some cases, they ’ ll order antibiotics for adults. They ’ ll besides prescribe kids antibiotics for swimmer ’ s auricle .

In-person or video visit with your primary care doctor

You can besides schedule a virtual date with the doctor of the church that normally cares for you or your child. They ’ ll have the best information about your family ’ s health and what treatments may be appropriate. If necessary, your child ’ sulfur primary care doctor can prescribe antibiotics and recommend extra treatments .
Keep in thinker that if it ’ s entirely been a couple days since the auricle infection started, you may not get a prescription for antibiotics. Your doctor will probably recommend treating the auricle infection with OTC pain relievers and scheduling another appointment after a workweek or so. If you start with a video visit, it ’ south besides possible that the sophisticate may want to see you or your child in person .

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