What is an Ear Infection?

Ear infections are prevalent and are a general term for several types of infections of the middle and inner ear.  

What Causes an Ear Infection?

An ear infection results from an invasion of bacteria or viruses into the ear. This occurs when a cold, throat infection, or allergy attack causes fluid to become trapped in the middle ear. 

Ear Infection Symptoms

An ear infection often occurs with various symptoms that vary depending on the specific form of ear infection. Symptoms may also vary in character and intensity between individuals. The most common symptoms of most ear infections are: 

  • Ear pain or tenderness
  • Swelling or heat around or behind the ear
  • Ear discharge that does not look like earwax
  • Itching of the ear canal

In some cases, people experience more severe symptoms, which is generally indicative of a more serious problem. These complications include:

  • Fever
  • Headache with a severe stiff neck
  • Severe dizziness or vertigo
  • Loss of hearing
  • Confusion, excessive sleepiness, or irritability

Treatment and Prevention

Due to the multitude of causes of ear infections, there are many ways to treat them. Occasionally, the infection will resolve itself within a few days. If symptoms persist or progress, you will likely need to see a medical provider. Treatments will vary based on the type of ear infection you are diagnosed with. Some of the most common ear infection treatments include: 

  • Over-the-counter pain medication 
  • Anesthetic ear drops
  • Antibiotics

MainStreet Family Care treats ear infections often. Treatment timeframes will vary based on the course of action your medical provider prescribes. 

If you are having frequent ear infections, it may be time to look into preventative methods. Some of the best ways to prevent ear infections include:

  • Washing hands frequently to avoid colds or the flu that cause ear infections
  • Quitting smoking or avoiding tobacco smoke
  • Controlling allergies
  • Keeping ears clean and dry

If you or a family member are suffering from symptoms of an ear infection, MainStreet Family Care is here to help. We make registering online simple and easy, and it also allows you to get a spot in line while waiting from home or in your care. 

MainStreet Family Care welcomes walk-ins, but please note that registering online will reduce in-clinic wait times.