Ear Infection treatments and drugs are based on the severity of the infection. Treatment also depends on age, health, and medical history.
Some infections will heal without the use of antibiotics. All it takes is treating the pain and allowing the body to heal itself.
Make sure it’s an ear infection
The only way to know if you have an inner ear infection or another ear problem is to see a doctor. If you experience symptoms of ear infection such as ear pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, spinning sensation, fullness in the ear, ringing in the ear, problems with balance or walking, or hearing loss, see a doctor.
A doctor will look into the ear with an instrument called an otoscope. An otoscope helps see inside the ear canal and eardrum to see if there is redness or swelling, the build-up of earwax, or if there are any abnormalities in the ear.
The doctor may gently puff air against the eardrum to see if it moves, which is normal. If it doesn’t, this may indicate fluid buildup in the middle ear.
Inner ear infection symptoms such as dizziness and loss of balance can resemble other medical problems, so a doctor will rule out conditions that may cause the symptoms such as head injury, heart disease, stroke, side effects of medications, anxiety, and neurological disorders.
The symptoms of an ear infection usually start quickly and include:
- Pain inside the ear.
- High temperature (100.4° F or above).
- Lack of energy.
- Difficulty hearing.
- Discharge running out of the ear.
- Feeling of pressure or fullness inside the ear.
- Itching and irritation in and around the ear.
- Scaly skin in and around the area.
Ear Infection Treatments and Drugs
Most ear infections clear up without intervention, but some of the following methods are effective in relieving the symptoms:
- Apply a warm cloth to the affected ear.
- Use OTC (Over-the-counter) or prescription ear drops to relieve pain.
- Take OTC (Over-the-counter) decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).
- If your symptoms get worse or don’t improve, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. They may prescribe antibiotics if your ear infection is chronic or doesn’t appear to be improving.
- Take over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- It’s important to finish your entire course of antibiotics if they’re prescribed.
Surgery may be an option if your ear infection isn’t eliminated with the usual medical treatments or if you have many ear infections over a short period of time. Most often, tubes are placed in the ears to allow fluid to drain out.
In cases that involve enlarged adenoids, surgical removal of the adenoids may be necessary. Usually, the treatment consists of antibiotics for seven to ten days.
Ear Infection in children
Ten percent of children do not respond to medication in the first 48 hours. In about 40 percent of cases, children are left with fluid in the middle ear even after the treatment is over, which can cause temporary hearing loss that lasts for a few weeks.
In most children, the fluid disappears or resorbs on its own. Kids with recurring bouts of acute otitis may have an ear tube placed into the ear during surgery to forbid fluid to drain from the middle ear.
If the problem is a bulging eardrum and the child is experiencing huge pain, a Myringotomy or a surgical incision of the eardrum must be performed to release the pus. The eardrum takes usually a week to heal.