First Aid Handbook: Bacterial Ear Infections

Little girl having her ear checked out at Integrity Urgent Care
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Ear infections can be one of the most painful “regular” issues a person has to deal with. It is no wonder kids and babies are so upset when they have one. Not only is it disorienting for your hearing to be off kilter, but the pain and discomfort can be unbearable at times. Integrity Urgent Care wants you to be out of pain as quickly as possible, how do you know if you have an ear infection, and what can you do about feeling better soon?

Symptoms

Like viral ear infections, there are a number of symptoms someone may feel when they have a bacterial ear infection. Pain, discomfort, and pressure are the most common with a range of feeling from mild to intense. There may also be a fever accompanying the infection, especially as the infection progresses. Some may have fluid discharge from their ear. Others may have hearing loss, dizziness, headache, or fatigue. This can be because of pressure on the ear drum that throws off your sense of balance.

Treatment

Because bacterial infections are caused by common bacteria like the ones that cause strep, staph infections, or other infections, they can be treated with antibiotics. You will need to see a doctor at one of our Integrity Urgent Care locations in order to get diagnosed and to receive these antibiotics, which should begin helping within a few doses and will help you feel better by the time you finish the prescription. Some patients may need pain relief as well, either over the counter or with warm compresses as needed. Occasionally, steroid drops may be used to reduce the swelling in the ear, allowing infected fluid to drain, reducing pressure, and stopping some of the issues.

Prevention

Keeping your ears free from additional fluid can be tricky but does help in some cases. Gently dry your ear as best as you can after bathing or swimming, without sticking anything into your ear canal. Trying to stay healthy in general can help as well. According to Healthy Hearty, “when you have nasal congestion because of upper respiratory infection, sinusitis, or allergies, upper part of the respiratory tract gets inflamed and the resultant mucus causes blockage in the Eustachian tube.” Some patients with repeated ear infections may need to see a specialist to consider ear tubes or some other method to reduce or prevent fluid from entering the ear.

When to See a Doctor

If you suspect you have an ear infection or if you are feeling more than an offhand pain in your ear, see our team at Integrity Urgent Care right away. A bacterial infection can get worse and will make you feel worse as it goes on. We can help you find relief quickly. In addition to this, if you are having excessive discharge from your ear, are bleeding from your ears, or have hearing loss beyond pressure from sinuses, you should come see our team.

Integrity Urgent Care wants every part of you to be as healthy as possible, even the smallest parts of you like your ears. With swimming, boating, and beach season coming up, you may need to be extra cautious about keeping your ears clean. If you have any issues, come see us at one of our several locations and we will get you back to full health as soon as we can.

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