Consult an Online Doctor For Ear Infection

Ear Infections

Ear infections, also referred to as serious otitis media, middle ear infection, glue ear, or secretory otitis media are very common, especially in children.
In fact, 75 percent of children experience at least one type of ear infection before their 3rd birthday, and it’s one of the most common reasons for visits to the pediatrician’s office.

Book an Appointment for Only $79 $39
Ear infections can be viral or bacterial and can cause pain, fluid buildup, and inflammation. In children, these infections are usually harmless and pass quickly with minimal treatment, but in adults, they can become more serious and can also be a symptom of an underlying condition.

Main Types of Ear Infections

Generally, ear infections in children and adults can be divided into three broad categories.

Acute Otitis Media (AOM)

This kind of ear infection is extremely common and not very serious. It causes the middle ear to swell due to infection and fluid gets trapped on the other side of the eardrum. It may cause a fever as well.

Otitis Media with effusion (OME)

This basically refers to the remaining fluid once the infection has run its course. There may be no apparent symptoms though.

Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion (COME)

With this condition, the fluid keeps coming back to the middle ear, regardless of infection. It can negatively impact one’s hearing and reduce a person’s ability to fight any other infections that occur.

Besides these types, an ear infection may also be grouped in accordance with which part of the ear they occur in. These broad categories are inner ear infections, middle ear infections, and outer ear infections.

 

What Can Cause an Ear Infection

Ear infections are mainly caused due to viruses and bacteria. In fact, a lot of times ear infections are preceded by respiratory infections or colds. The bacteria basically travel through the eustachian tube, right into the middle ear. The tube’s function is essentially to connect the middle ear and the throat (back).
The bacteria cause the eustachian tube to swell, and eventually get blocked. Since this is the exit pathway for ear fluids, they begin building up in the middle ear with nowhere to drain.
Some other factors that can cause the eustachian tube to get blocked are:

  • Smoking
  • Allergies
  • An excess of mucus
  • Changes in air pressure
  • Other recent infections in the ear

As seen on

What we treat

We treat a variety of acute and chronic conditions and provide expert medical advice and guidance for our patients.

ReadMore

What Do Most Ear Infections Look and Feel Like?

Most of the time, when one has an ear infection, it becomes fairly apparent. You may experience one, all, or a few of these symptoms.

  • Pain or discomfort — while adults and older children will be able to point out pain in the ear easily, this could be a symptom difficult to spot in infants. Crying constantly, rubbing or touching the ears, or not falling asleep are some symptoms you should look out for.
  • A loss of appetite — infections can make swallowing more painful hence causing a loss of appetite.
  • Fever — Ear infection can cause fevers that can go up to 38C. About 50 percent of children do get fevers with ear infections.
  • Fluid from the ear — Any kind of fluid draining from the ear—yellow, brown, or white is a symptom of an ear infection (make sure this isn’t just ear wax). Fluid may even point to the eardrum being ruptured.
  • Difficulty hearing — Our bones are connected to nerves that send signals to the brain as sound. Trapped fluid can disrupt the flow of electrical signals.
  • A persistent feeling of pressure inside the ear
  • Difficulty sleeping

Treatment Options for Ear Infections

Sometimes, treatment may not be needed for ear infections if they are mild. They can clear up on their own while the symptoms can be managed by:

  • Using a warm cloth to massage the ear
  • Over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen
  • Ear drops that are also easily available without prescription
  • Use of over-the-counter decongestants

For more serious ear infections or children below the age of 2, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
In rare cases, if the infection isn’t responding to the antibiotics and seems to be getting worse or if there are many recurring infections over a short span, then a specialist may suggest surgery to drain out the fluid or removed adenoids if enlarged adenoids are the problem.

Ear Infection-Related FAQs

What Can Increase My Risk of An Ear Infection

While normally ear infections can occur in completely healthy individuals as well as those with a weakened immune system, there are factors that increase the risk. Things like altitude changes, or climate changes, increased exposure to smoke from cigarettes, use of a pacifier or a recent illness (related or unrelated to the ears) can all increase the risk of an ear infection.  

Can I Prevent an Ear Infection?

Ear infections are very easily caused so it can be quite a challenge to prevent them. But some simple practices may reduce the probability of you getting an infection. For instance, washing hands often to get rid of bacteria, avoiding very crowded spaces and cigarette smoke, and staying vaccinated. For children, you can try avoiding pacifiers to reduce the likelihood of ear infections slightly.

Why Do Children Get More Ear Infections?

Children usually suffer from ear infections more than adults do because they have much narrower and quite shorter eustachian tubes. This enables the bacteria or viruses to make their way into the middle ear very easily. Plus, the tubes are narrower, so they get blocked quickly too.

Can Ear Infections Result in Long-term Complications?

In general, ear infections are not that severe, and they may even clear up without medical intervention. However, in some rare instances, an ear infection can worsen and result in permanent damage. This could be a hearing loss, infections like mastoiditis or meningitis, a ruptured eardrum, or in the case of children, difficulties or a delay with speech.
This is why it’s wise to always check in with a doctor when you suspect an ear infection.

Let TelMDCare’s Online Doctors Help You Out  

Most ear infections may not be severe, but they can be very painful and inconvenient. An online appointment with our doctors could be just what you need. The online physicians can assess your symptoms and prescribe medication for the pain. They can also rule out the chances of any underlying conditions, giving you some much-needed peace of mind and painless sleep.

Sign up and book an appointment with our acute care doctors today!  


About Ear Infections


Ear infections, also referred to as serious otitis media, middle ear infection, glue ear, or secretory otitis media, are very common, especially in children.

In fact, 75 percent of children experience at least one type of ear infection before their 3rd birthday, and it’s one of the most common reasons for a pediatrician and virtual doctor visits.

Ear infections can be viral or bacterial and can cause pain, fluid buildup, and inflammation. In children, these infections are usually harmless and pass quickly with minimal treatment, but in adults, they can become more serious and can also be a symptom of an underlying condition.

Generally, ear infections in children and adults can be divided into three broad categories.


  • Acute Otitis Media (AOM): This kind of ear infection is extremely common and not very serious, but you might want to see a specialist online to be on the safe side. It causes the middle ear to swell due to infection, and fluid gets trapped on the other side of the eardrum. It may cause a fever as well.
  • Otitis Media with Effusion (OME): This basically refers to the remaining fluid once the infection has run its course. There may be no apparent symptoms, though.
  • Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion (COME): In this condition, the fluid keeps coming back to the middle ear, regardless of infection. It can negatively impact one’s hearing and reduce a person’s ability to fight other infections. You should prioritize online treatment for this ear infection before the symptoms worsen.

Besides these types, an ear infection may also be grouped in accordance with which part of the ear they occur in. These broad categories are inner ear infections, middle ear infections, and outer ear infections.


Ear Infection Symptoms


Most of the time, when one has an ear infection, it becomes fairly apparent. You may experience one, all, or a few of these symptoms.


  • Pain or discomfort — While adults and older children can point out pain in the ear easily, this could be a symptom difficult to spot in infants. Crying constantly, rubbing or touching the ears, or not falling asleep are some symptoms you should look out for to see an ear infection specialist immediately.
  • A loss of appetite — Ear infections can make swallowing more painful, causing a loss of appetite.
  • Fever — Ear infection can cause fevers that can go up to 38C. About 50 percent of children get fevers with ear infections. When that happens, see an online doctor right away.
  • Fluid from the ear — Any fluid draining from the ear—yellow, brown, or white—is a symptom of an ear infection (make sure this isn’t just ear wax). Fluid may even point to the eardrum being ruptured. Book online treatment for an official diagnosis.
  • Difficulty hearing — Our bones are connected to nerves that send signals to the brain as sound. Trapped fluid can disrupt the flow of electrical signals.
  • A persistent feeling of pressure inside the ear.
  • Difficulty sleeping.

Ear Infection Causes


Ear infections are mainly caused due to viruses and bacteria. According to ear infection specialists, ear infections are often preceded by respiratory infections or colds. The bacteria basically travel through the eustachian tube, right into the middle ear. The tube essentially connects the middle ear and the throat (back).


The bacteria cause the eustachian tube to swell and eventually get blocked. Since this is the exit pathway for ear fluids, they begin building up in the middle ear with nowhere to drain. Some other factors that can cause the eustachian tube to get blocked are:

  • Smoking
  • Allergies
  • An excess of mucus
  • Changes in air pressure
  • Other recent infections in the ear

Regardless of the causes and the severity of your symptoms, you should seek online treatment for ear infections right away.

Ear Infection Risk Factors


While normally, ear infections can occur in completely healthy individuals and those with a weakened immune system, some factors increase the risk.

  • Altitude changes
  • Climate changes
  • Increased exposure to smoke from cigarettes
  • Using a pacifier
  • A recent illness (related or unrelated to the ears)

Any of the above can increase the risk of ear infections in children and adults and must be seen by a virtual doctor for ear infections before symptoms get worse.


Ear Infection Diagnosis

An ear infection specialist evaluates the symptoms you describe and exam results to diagnose an ear infection. Before seeing your online doctor, visit the doctor’s office for an in-person exam.

Types include:

  • Checking the ears, throat, and nose with a pneumatic otoscope.
  • Checking breathing through a stethoscope.

Additional tests for ear infection include:


  • Tympanometry: To measure eardrum movement.
  • Acoustic Reflectometry: To measure sound reflection from the eardrum.
  • Advanced Testing: Your ear infection specialist may ask you to see other specialists if you or your child has a history of ear infections.

Ear Infection Treatments


Sometimes, treatment may not be needed for ear infections if they are mild. They can clear up on their own while the symptoms can be managed by:

  • Usi-counter decongestants.

For more serious ear infections or children below the age of 2, the online doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Suppose the infection doesn't respond to antibiotics and seems to be getting worse or if there are many recurring ear infections over a short span. An ear infection specialist may suggest surgery to drain the fluid or remove adenoids if enlarged adenoids are the problem.


Consulting an Online Doctor for Ear Infections

In general, ear infections are not that severe and may even clear up without medical intervention. However, they can be very painful and inconvenient. In some rare instances, an ear infection can worsen and result in permanent damage. This could be a hearing loss, infections like mastoiditis or meningitis, a ruptured eardrum, or in the case of children, difficulties or a delay with speech. Seeing our online doctor for ear infections could be just what you need. The virtual physician can assess your symptoms and prescribe medication for the pain. They can also rule out the chances of any underlying conditions, giving you much-needed peace of mind and painless sleep. Sign up and book an appointment with our ear infection specialists today!  

Sign Up

Our best online doctors on call ensure that the services we provide are adequate, high quality, and affordable. Get in touch with us today for more details or Sign Up for a quick consultation.

Sign Up