Ear infections are a common reason for patients to seek medical care, especially amongst children.
Common Types of Ear Infections
The most common types of ear infections fall into two categories-otitis externa and otitis media. Otitis externa (or "swimmer's ear) is caused by an infection in the external auditory canal and is more common in the summer months when activities include swimming and water sports. Otitis media is more common in winter months and can be contracted through contagion from other people who have the bacterial infection.
Symptoms of Ear Infections
Both otitis externa and otitis media cause similar symptoms, including, but not limited to: ear pain, fever, chills, cough, and fatigue. These same symptoms, including ear pain, can be experienced with a viral upper respiratory illness which may be causing sinus congestion and pressure in the ears, and there may not be any ear infection present. With infants, behaviors such as pulling on their ears, decreased appetite, and lethargy may be signs of an ear infection.
Treating Ear Infections
During a medical exam, the medical provider will visually inspect the external auditory canals and tympanic membranes to determine which of the several illnesses may be causing the symptoms. Otitis externa usually requires ear drops, otitis media usually requires oral antibiotics, and the viral upper respiratory illness is typically treated with antihistamines and decongestants.
If you suspect you may have an ear infection, come see us today!