Few things in life are as irritating as developing an ear infection, but almost everyone encounters them at some stage in their lives. In fact, around 80 percent of children experience an ear infection before the age of five and about one percent of all adults develop an infection every year. Across the USA, that adds up to a lot of pain and annoyance, so what can be done to avoid these nasty conditions?
How to treat an ear infection
When the diagnosis has been completed and it looks like you are suffering from an ear infection, the next stage is to decide how to treat it. Again, we’re lucky to live at a time when how to treat an ear infection isn’t a huge problem. All infections and patients differ, but the treatment is relatively similar for most people.
Firstly, a doctor may well prescribe some form of antibiotic to control and remove the bacteria that have caused the infection. However, there will usually be a “wait and see” period before taking this step. Many infections resolve without the need for medication, and specialists now recommend limiting antibiotic usage as possible to prevent the development of resistance. Pain management is often a key part of the treatment, involving warm compresses and store-bought painkillers like Tylenol or ibuprofen. In some cases, doctors may also recommend the use of ear tubes. Particularly common with children, this treatment involves inserting tubes into the middle ear and “sucking” fluid through a carefully created hole in the ear drum. The process can take a few hours or, more usually, the tubes are left in place for weeks or months. It’s not the preferred treatment for ear infections, but often ear tubes are the only way to resolve persistent cases of fluid build-up.
Ear infections afflict millions of Americans every year, causing distress for children and irritation for adults. While they can usually be treated, they can also often be prevented by maintaining good hygiene standards, immunizing children and keeping kids away from cigarette smoke. However, sometimes, people are simply unfortunate, and infections take hold. When they do, be sure to seek medical help promptly. With a quick response and professional diagnosis, very few ear infections lead to serious complications, but if left untreated, they can become harder to treat and an extremely uncomfortable experience.