An “ear infection” is the common term for the condition known as acute otitis media (AOM). AOM occurs when a bacteria or virus causes an infection in the space behind the eardrum. Generally this space, known as the middle ear, is air-filled and contains the tiny bones that vibrate to transmit sound. If an infection causes this space to fill with fluid it can lead to increased pressure and cause significant discomfort.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Children are generally more susceptible to ear infections when compared to adults. However, ear infections can occur at any age. When a person develops a cold or flu the infection causes the small airways that connect our ears to our nasal passages to swell. When these passages become blocked the ear cannot drain properly and pressure increases. Ear infections are more common during the fall and winter months when cold and flu infections peak. Other factors that may cause our airways to swell including allergies and irritant exposure may also predispose to developing ear infections.
EAR INFECTION SYMPTOMS
The most common symptoms of an ear infection include ear pain, drainage of fluid from the ear, muffled or diminished hearing and low-grade fevers. High fever, significant hearing loss or discharge of blood or pus may indicate a more serious infection. Anyone who suspects they may have an ear infection should contact their doctor immediately.
DIAGNOSIS AND EAR INFECTION TREATMENT
Ear infections are diagnosed when your doctor takes a thorough medical history and examines the ear with a device called an otoscope. Treatments will generally include analgesic medications for pain control. Often antibiotics are also needed to treat the infection. Antibiotics may be given in the form of eardrops, pills or a combination of both.
HOW PLUSHCARE WORKS
1. Video chat with a doctor to tell them your symptoms and medical history.
2. The doctor can call in a prescription for antibiotics, ear drops, or other medicine to help.
3. Pick up your prescription at a local pharmacy and let us know if you aren't feeling better quickly.