Common Conditions

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore an Ear Infection

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore an Ear Infection

Have you ever had an ear infection before? It’s always a terrible experience, you would agree. It brings along with it a plethora of symptoms, some of which include a headache, runny nose, a cold, etc. While it is more common in children, adults, too, suffer ear infections, although to varying degrees. So you could be at risk.

If you’ve been noticing sharp, recurring pains in your ears, chances are that your ear has been infected with bacteria. If you feel like ignoring the pain, believing that with time it would go away, don’t! Left unchecked, the infection may spread beyond your ear canal to other organs of your body. Your first line of defense is to seek ear infection treatment, quickly.

In this article, you will get to learn what causes ear infection and how to treat it properly.

What Causes Ear Infections?

The answer depends on the type of ear infection. Generally, ear infections are of two kinds: inner and outer ear infection.

Inner Ear Infection

It’s in the inner ear that the external sound is processed and sent to the brain. When it gets infected it becomes swollen, thus causing the sufferer to experience hearing difficulties. Certain strains of viruses are responsible for inner ear infections. The commonest are Herpes, Epstein-Barr, and the Influenza virus. These viruses can quickly spread through the body if not contained quickly.

Symptoms of an inner ear infection include poor hearing, difficulty in balancing, and acute pain in the ear.

Outer Ear Infection

Popularly known as the “swimmer’s ear”, this type of infection is more prevalent in – as you may have guessed – swimmers. Non-swimmers can also suffer outer ear infection, particularly those that love to shower a lot.

An outer ear infection occurs when the outer part of the ear canal – the tube that links the eardrum to the outside – gets infected with bacteria. These bacteria come from contaminated water that finds its way into the ear. It gets worse the longer the water stays in the ear.

The major symptom of swimmer’s ear is pain in the ear canal. Other symptoms include pus discharge, redness of the ear and a burning sensation.

Ear Infection Treatment

If it is the case of an inner ear infection, an otolaryngologist (ENT) – an ear, nose, and throat doctor – is in the best position to recommend the right treatment. In most cases, the treatment will start with a thorough examination to determine if it’s an ear infection or a symptom of something deeper.

For an outer ear infection, it might just go away on its own. However, this doesn’t happen all the time. Always wear a swim cap or ear plugs before swimming. If the infection has happened already, you could apply ear drops to it. Ibuprofen is also used in the treatment of an outer ear infection. Consult with a doctor before taking it.

Placing a cloth soaked in warm, clean water has been found to be effective at treating a mild ear infection.

Are Ear Infections Contagious?

The answer is no; ear infections are by no means contagious. That is to say, you won’t get infected by making contact with someone suffering from an ear infection.

Are you in need of an urgent care for an ear infection? We have standby professionals to help. We provide help to those looking for urgent care in East Bay Area, as well as Walnut Creek.