Ear infections are common ailments, especially in children. They can be caused by a number of things, including bacteria, viruses, or even fungi. Most ear infections will go away on their own within a week or two, but there are some things that you can do to help relieve the symptoms and speed up the healing process. In this blog post, we will discuss how long an ear infection lasts and some tips on how to help ease the symptoms and speed up the healing process.
How Ear Infection Occurs?
There are several ways that an ear infection can occur.
1. Bacteria or viruses cause most ear infections.
The most common cause of an ear infection is bacteria or a virus in the middle ear. The Eustachian tube is a small passageway that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. This tube helps to drain fluid from the middle ear. The Eustachian tube can become blocked when a person has a cold, allergy, or sinus infection. This allows bacteria or viruses to grow in the middle ear, leading to an infection.
2. Ear infections often occur after a cold or allergy attack.
Ear infections often occur after a person has had a cold or an allergy attack. This is because the congestion from these conditions can block the Eustachian tube, allowing bacteria or viruses to grow in the middle ear.
3. Fungal infections can also cause ear infections.
Fungal ear infections can occur when a person has been exposed to water or moisture in the ears. This is most common in people who spend a lot of time swimming or who have allergies that cause them to have itchy, wet ears.
4. Other health conditions can lead to ear infections.
Some other health conditions, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system, can make people more likely to get ear infections. Other factors that may increase the risk of getting an ear infection include smoking and using pacifiers for too long.
How Long Does an Ear Infection Last?
Most ear infections clear up within a few days and don’t require antibiotics. If the pain isn’t gone within a few days, or if your child has a fever, more persistent infection, or is younger than 6 months old, call your doctor. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics, which should start working within 24 to 48 hours. The most common type of antibiotic used for ear infections is amoxicillin. Your doctor also may prescribe decongestants or antihistamines to help relieve pain and pressure in the ear. Ear infection symptoms may last for several days, even after the infection has begun to clear. So, it’s important to finish the entire course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor, even if your child feels better, before finishing the medicine.
What You Can Do to Help an Ear Infection
Here are a few things that you can do to help ease the pain of an ear infection and speed up the healing process:
1. Apply warm compresses to the ear.
Ear pain is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of conditions, from infection to inflammation. Applying a warm compress is a simple and effective way to reduce ear pain. The heat helps increase blood flow to the area, reducing swelling and promoting healing. Additionally, the warmth can help to relax muscles and ease tension headaches. To use a warm compress, simply wet a clean cloth with warm water and apply it to the affected ear for 5-10 minutes. Repeat this process several times per day for best results until the pain subsides.
2. Elevate the head of the bed.
If you or your child is suffering from an ear infection, gravity can play a role in reducing pressure and pain. Try elevating the head of the bed by placing pillows underneath the mattress at a 30-degree angle or by placing a few books underneath the head of the bed. This can help drain the fluid from the ear and relieve some pressure. In addition, try to keep the affected ear above the heart’s level to reduce pressure further. Finally, avoid blowing your nose too forcefully, as this can also increase pressure in the ears.
3. Use over-the-counter pain relievers.
While there are a number of prescription medications that can help to reduce ear pain, there are also several over-the-counter options. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are two of the most commonly used medications for ear pain. Both work by reducing inflammation and pain receptors, effectively treating acute and chronic ear pain. In addition, they are relatively inexpensive and have few side effects. Over-the-counter options like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are worth considering for those looking for a way to reduce ear pain without resorting to prescription medication.
4. Try a saltwater rinse.
Saltwater can be an effective remedy for ear infections. The salt helps to draw out moisture and reduce inflammation, which can help relieve the pain of an ear infection. To use a saltwater rinse, fill a dropper bottle with warm water and add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt or Epsom salt. Tilt your head so the affected ear is facing up, and slowly squeeze the solution into your ear. Let it sit for a few minutes before draining the excess water with a tissue or cotton ball. Repeat this process once or twice per day until the infection has cleared.
5. Take a probiotic supplement.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help restore gut balance and improve overall health. Recent studies have shown that taking a probiotic supplement may help reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process of ear infections. Additionally, probiotics may help to reduce the risk of future infections by strengthening the immune system. Look for a probiotic supplement containing at least five strains of beneficial bacteria, as directed by your doctor.
Treating an Ear Infection
Though over-the-counter pain medications may help, ear infection treatment often includes the use of antibiotics or prescription eardrops. At TGH Urgent Care, our team will evaluate your child, diagnose the issue, and recommend the best course of treatment. If a prescription is needed, we can fill it at our in-house pharmacy so treatment can begin immediately.
Offering Unmatched Convenience
Our facilities are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, so it’s easy to find a time that fits your hectic day-to-day schedule. Patients are seen on a first-come-first-served, and many visits are completed in less than an hour. And we offer discounted self-pay options for our patients who are uninsured.
If you or your child require prompt ear infection treatment, contact TGH Urgent Care today or visit our location nearest you. If you’d like to reduce your wait time, sign in online using our On My Way system before you arrive.