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Ear infection - acute

Otitis media - acute; Infection - inner ear; Middle ear infection - acute

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. The most common type of ear infection is called otitis media. It is caused by swelling and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum. An acute ear infection starts over a short period and is painful. Ear infections...

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  • Ear infection - acute - Animation

    Ear infection - acute

    Animation

  • Ear infection - acute - Animation

    Is your child irritable, inconsolably crying, feverish, and having trouble sleeping? If so, your child may have an ear infection. Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. The most common type is called otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum. The Eustachian tube runs from the middle of each ear to the back of the throat. This tube drains fluid normally made in the middle ear. If the tube gets blocked, fluid can build up, leading to infection. Ear infections are common in infants and children because their tiny. Eustachian tubes become easily clogged. They're often caused by allergies, colds, and excess mucus and saliva produced during teething. Infants with an ear infection will often be irritable. You may have a hard time consoling their crying, and your child may have a fever and not sleep very well. Older children may have an ear ache and tell you their ear feels full. Because ear infections have fluid behind the ear drum, you can use an electronic ear monitor to detect this fluid at home. Children under 6 months old who might have an ear infection need to see a doctor. Your child's doctor will look inside the child's ear using an instrument called an otoscope. The doctor might see areas of redness, air bubbles behind the ear drum, and fluid inside the middle ear. Often, an ear infection will clear up on its own. For older children, you can place a warm cloth or bottle on their ear and give them over-the-counter ear drops to relieve their pain. If bacteria caused the ear infection, your child may need to take antibiotics. In fact, all ear infections in children under 6 months old are treated with antibiotics. If the infection does NOT go away, on its own or with treatment, the doctor may recommend ear tube surgery. In this procedure, a tiny tube is inserted into the eardrum to drain the fluid. The tube will usually fall out on its own. Ear infections are very treatable, but they may come back again. If your child has to take an antibiotic, make sure they take all of the medicine.

  • Ear infection - chronic - Animation

    Ear infection - chronic

    Animation

  • Ear infection - chronic - Animation

    Does your child have pain or discomfort in his ear? Does your child often have a fever and is fussy a lot? If so, they may have chronic ear infections. Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. The Eustachian tube runs from the middle of each ear to the back of the throat. This tube drains fluid normally made in the middle ear. If the tube gets blocked, fluid can build up, leading to infection. Ear infections are common in infants and children because the Eustachian tubes become easily clogged. If the ears get infected a lot or individual ear infections don't clear up, your child has chronic ear infections. How do you know for sure that your child has a chronic ear infection?Your child will feel like there's pressure or fullness in his ear. He may pain or discomfort in his ear a lot and have a low-grade fever. An infant may be fussy a lot. You may see a pus-like drainage from an ear, and your child may have trouble hearing. Your child's doctor will check for redness, air bubbles, and thick fluid in your child's middle ear. A swab of your child's ear may reveal bacteria that are harder to treat than bacteria that commonly cause an ear infection. The doctor may see a hole in your child's eardrum. To treat a chronic ear infection, your child will probably need to take antibiotics if the infection is due to bacteria, maybe for a long time. If there is a hole in the eardrum, your child may need to use antibiotic ear drops or a mixture of vinegar and water. If the infection does NOT go away, the child may need surgery, to clean the infection out of the mastoid bone in the middle ear, to repair or replace the small bones in the middle ear, or to repair the eardrum. The doctor may also recommend ear tube surgery. In this procedure, a tiny tube is inserted into the eardrum to drain the fluid. The tube will usually fall out on its own. Chronic ear infections are treatable, but your child may need to keep taking medicine even for several months. These infections can be uncomfortable, and they may result in hearing loss or other serious problems.

  • Tips on removing ear wax - Animation

    Tips on removing ear wax

    Animation

  • Tips on removing ear wax - Animation

    The body naturally makes ear wax to coat, protect, and lubricate the lining of the ear canal. How do you get rid of extra ear wax? I'm Dr. Alan Greene with a few tips. Speaking of tips, one of the most common things people do is take a cotton swab and try to get the ear wax out that way. That works pretty well, but there are a couple of serious problems with it. One is if you happen to stumble you could actually hurt oneself with a ruptured eardrum with it. But the bigger problem is that whenever you put something in the ear like that and rub around, you're moving the hair cells inside the ear and stimulating the body to make more wax. So it actually perpetuates the problem. It gets out what's there, but it makes you have more very soon thereafter. Now the way the body is normally setup, the wax that's there is gradually moved out by the hair cells and it becomes and gets into this part of the ear. So, the best way in general to deal with your wax is stick nothing inside the ear canal. Just take a clean washcloth and clean the outer part of the ear that you can just easily reach with your finger. Every now and then though ear wax will build up where you do need to do something extra. That can happen if you've been sick or if the humidity changes or something irritating gets in there. Some people are genetically predisposed to it. But in that case, the best solution is usually to get ear wax drops. You get them over the counter both in brands and generic form. And the way they work is they melt the ear wax and make it easier to come out. So, you tilt your head to the side you put 5 or 10 drops in there. And you want to leave the drops in for a couple of minutes so you either need to keep your head tilted or you can put a cotton ball in and go about your work and then come back later to get rid of the wax and the drops. The way you get rid of it - you take a bulb syringe and you fill it with warm water by squeezing the air out first, dipping it in water, picking it up, and then just gently flush with the warm water. That'll help the drops come out, help some of that melted wax to come out. And then to get rid of that extra water in there, you tilt your head to the side, the other side down, and gently move your ear around in a circle like this and you should get the extra water drops out as well. You can do that a couple times a day for about 4 days and usually that'll take care of even a pretty serious ear wax build-up.

  • Middle ear infection (otitis media)

    Middle ear infection (otitis media)

    Otitis media is an inflammation or infection of the middle ear. Acute otitis media (acute ear infection) occurs when there is bacterial or viral infection of the fluid of the middle ear, which causes production of fluid or pus. Chronic otitis media occurs when the eustachian tube becomes blocked repeatedly due to allergies, multiple infections, ear trauma, or swelling of the adenoids.

    Middle ear infection (otitis media)

    illustration

  • Swimmer's ear

    Swimmer's ear

    Swimmer's ear is an infection of the skin lining the ear canal. Bacteria can enter the skin of the ear canal and cause an infection through a scratch, injury from a foreign object, or if the ear is wet for a prolonged period of time. Swimmer's ear is more common in  pre-school and school-age children. Symptoms include itching and pain in the ear canal, which is often accompanied by a small amount of clear discharge.

    Swimmer's ear

    illustration

  • Mastoiditis - redness and swelling behind ear

    Mastoiditis - redness and swelling behind ear

    Mastoiditis is an infection of the bony air cells in the mastoid bone, located just behind the ear. It is rarely seen today because of the use of antibiotics to treat ear infections. This child has noticeable swelling and redness behind his right ear because of mastoiditis.

    Mastoiditis - redness and swelling behind ear

    illustration

  • Otoscopic exam of the ear

    Otoscopic exam of the ear

    An otoscope is an intrument which is used to look into the ear canal. The ear speculum (a cone-shaped viewing piece of the otoscope) is slowly inserted into the ear canal while looking into the otoscope. The speculum is angled slightly toward the person's nose to follow the canal. A light beam extends beyond the viewing tip of the speculum. The otoscope is gently moved to different angles to view the canal walls and eardrum.

    Otoscopic exam of the ear

    illustration

  • Ear drainage culture

    Ear drainage culture

    An ear drainage culture is collected by placing a cotton swab gently in the ear canal. The sample is sent to the laboratory for testing to isolate and identify the type of organism causing the ear infection.

    Ear drainage culture

    illustration

  • Middle ear infection

    Middle ear infection

    A middle ear infection is also known as otitis media. It is one of the most common of childhood infections. With this illness, the middle ear becomes red, swollen, and inflamed because of bacteria trapped in the eustachian tube.

    Middle ear infection

    illustration

  • External and internal ear

    External and internal ear

    The ear is a complicated organ controlling hearing and balance. When sounds waves reach the ear, they are translated into nerve impulses. These impulses then travel to the brain where they are interpreted by the brain as sound.

    External and internal ear

    illustration

  • Foreign object in ear

    Foreign object in ear

    Children often place objects into their ears that can get stuck in the ear canal. It is important to remove the object since infection is most likely to occur. In most cases, a doctor will need to use special instruments to examine the ear and safely remove the foreign object.

    Foreign object in ear

    illustration

  • Battle's sign - behind the ear

    Battle's sign - behind the ear

    Skull fractures are common in children and result from accidents (the majority are automobile or auto/bike accidents) or abuse. Battle's sign is seen several days following a basilar skull fracture. There may have been bloody drainage from the ear immediately after the fracture occurred.

    Battle's sign - behind the ear

    illustration

  • Keloid above the ear

    Keloid above the ear

    Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue that follow skin injuries. Keloids may appear after such minor trauma as ear piercing. Dark skinned individuals tend to form keloids more readily than lighter skinned individuals.

    Keloid above the ear

    illustration

  • Ear tube insertion  - series

    Ear tube insertion - series

    Presentation

  • Ear surgery  - series

    Ear surgery - series

    Presentation

  • Ear infection - acute - Animation

    Ear infection - acute

    Animation

  • Ear infection - acute - Animation

    Is your child irritable, inconsolably crying, feverish, and having trouble sleeping? If so, your child may have an ear infection. Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. The most common type is called otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum. The Eustachian tube runs from the middle of each ear to the back of the throat. This tube drains fluid normally made in the middle ear. If the tube gets blocked, fluid can build up, leading to infection. Ear infections are common in infants and children because their tiny. Eustachian tubes become easily clogged. They're often caused by allergies, colds, and excess mucus and saliva produced during teething. Infants with an ear infection will often be irritable. You may have a hard time consoling their crying, and your child may have a fever and not sleep very well. Older children may have an ear ache and tell you their ear feels full. Because ear infections have fluid behind the ear drum, you can use an electronic ear monitor to detect this fluid at home. Children under 6 months old who might have an ear infection need to see a doctor. Your child's doctor will look inside the child's ear using an instrument called an otoscope. The doctor might see areas of redness, air bubbles behind the ear drum, and fluid inside the middle ear. Often, an ear infection will clear up on its own. For older children, you can place a warm cloth or bottle on their ear and give them over-the-counter ear drops to relieve their pain. If bacteria caused the ear infection, your child may need to take antibiotics. In fact, all ear infections in children under 6 months old are treated with antibiotics. If the infection does NOT go away, on its own or with treatment, the doctor may recommend ear tube surgery. In this procedure, a tiny tube is inserted into the eardrum to drain the fluid. The tube will usually fall out on its own. Ear infections are very treatable, but they may come back again. If your child has to take an antibiotic, make sure they take all of the medicine.

  • Ear infection - chronic - Animation

    Ear infection - chronic

    Animation

  • Ear infection - chronic - Animation

    Does your child have pain or discomfort in his ear? Does your child often have a fever and is fussy a lot? If so, they may have chronic ear infections. Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. The Eustachian tube runs from the middle of each ear to the back of the throat. This tube drains fluid normally made in the middle ear. If the tube gets blocked, fluid can build up, leading to infection. Ear infections are common in infants and children because the Eustachian tubes become easily clogged. If the ears get infected a lot or individual ear infections don't clear up, your child has chronic ear infections. How do you know for sure that your child has a chronic ear infection?Your child will feel like there's pressure or fullness in his ear. He may pain or discomfort in his ear a lot and have a low-grade fever. An infant may be fussy a lot. You may see a pus-like drainage from an ear, and your child may have trouble hearing. Your child's doctor will check for redness, air bubbles, and thick fluid in your child's middle ear. A swab of your child's ear may reveal bacteria that are harder to treat than bacteria that commonly cause an ear infection. The doctor may see a hole in your child's eardrum. To treat a chronic ear infection, your child will probably need to take antibiotics if the infection is due to bacteria, maybe for a long time. If there is a hole in the eardrum, your child may need to use antibiotic ear drops or a mixture of vinegar and water. If the infection does NOT go away, the child may need surgery, to clean the infection out of the mastoid bone in the middle ear, to repair or replace the small bones in the middle ear, or to repair the eardrum. The doctor may also recommend ear tube surgery. In this procedure, a tiny tube is inserted into the eardrum to drain the fluid. The tube will usually fall out on its own. Chronic ear infections are treatable, but your child may need to keep taking medicine even for several months. These infections can be uncomfortable, and they may result in hearing loss or other serious problems.

  • Tips on removing ear wax - Animation

    Tips on removing ear wax

    Animation

  • Tips on removing ear wax - Animation

    The body naturally makes ear wax to coat, protect, and lubricate the lining of the ear canal. How do you get rid of extra ear wax? I'm Dr. Alan Greene with a few tips. Speaking of tips, one of the most common things people do is take a cotton swab and try to get the ear wax out that way. That works pretty well, but there are a couple of serious problems with it. One is if you happen to stumble you could actually hurt oneself with a ruptured eardrum with it. But the bigger problem is that whenever you put something in the ear like that and rub around, you're moving the hair cells inside the ear and stimulating the body to make more wax. So it actually perpetuates the problem. It gets out what's there, but it makes you have more very soon thereafter. Now the way the body is normally setup, the wax that's there is gradually moved out by the hair cells and it becomes and gets into this part of the ear. So, the best way in general to deal with your wax is stick nothing inside the ear canal. Just take a clean washcloth and clean the outer part of the ear that you can just easily reach with your finger. Every now and then though ear wax will build up where you do need to do something extra. That can happen if you've been sick or if the humidity changes or something irritating gets in there. Some people are genetically predisposed to it. But in that case, the best solution is usually to get ear wax drops. You get them over the counter both in brands and generic form. And the way they work is they melt the ear wax and make it easier to come out. So, you tilt your head to the side you put 5 or 10 drops in there. And you want to leave the drops in for a couple of minutes so you either need to keep your head tilted or you can put a cotton ball in and go about your work and then come back later to get rid of the wax and the drops. The way you get rid of it - you take a bulb syringe and you fill it with warm water by squeezing the air out first, dipping it in water, picking it up, and then just gently flush with the warm water. That'll help the drops come out, help some of that melted wax to come out. And then to get rid of that extra water in there, you tilt your head to the side, the other side down, and gently move your ear around in a circle like this and you should get the extra water drops out as well. You can do that a couple times a day for about 4 days and usually that'll take care of even a pretty serious ear wax build-up.

  • Middle ear infection (otitis media)

    Middle ear infection (otitis media)

    Otitis media is an inflammation or infection of the middle ear. Acute otitis media (acute ear infection) occurs when there is bacterial or viral infection of the fluid of the middle ear, which causes production of fluid or pus. Chronic otitis media occurs when the eustachian tube becomes blocked repeatedly due to allergies, multiple infections, ear trauma, or swelling of the adenoids.

    Middle ear infection (otitis media)

    illustration

  • Swimmer's ear

    Swimmer's ear

    Swimmer's ear is an infection of the skin lining the ear canal. Bacteria can enter the skin of the ear canal and cause an infection through a scratch, injury from a foreign object, or if the ear is wet for a prolonged period of time. Swimmer's ear is more common in  pre-school and school-age children. Symptoms include itching and pain in the ear canal, which is often accompanied by a small amount of clear discharge.

    Swimmer's ear

    illustration

  • Mastoiditis - redness and swelling behind ear

    Mastoiditis - redness and swelling behind ear

    Mastoiditis is an infection of the bony air cells in the mastoid bone, located just behind the ear. It is rarely seen today because of the use of antibiotics to treat ear infections. This child has noticeable swelling and redness behind his right ear because of mastoiditis.

    Mastoiditis - redness and swelling behind ear

    illustration

  • Otoscopic exam of the ear

    Otoscopic exam of the ear

    An otoscope is an intrument which is used to look into the ear canal. The ear speculum (a cone-shaped viewing piece of the otoscope) is slowly inserted into the ear canal while looking into the otoscope. The speculum is angled slightly toward the person's nose to follow the canal. A light beam extends beyond the viewing tip of the speculum. The otoscope is gently moved to different angles to view the canal walls and eardrum.

    Otoscopic exam of the ear

    illustration

  • Ear drainage culture

    Ear drainage culture

    An ear drainage culture is collected by placing a cotton swab gently in the ear canal. The sample is sent to the laboratory for testing to isolate and identify the type of organism causing the ear infection.

    Ear drainage culture

    illustration

  • Middle ear infection

    Middle ear infection

    A middle ear infection is also known as otitis media. It is one of the most common of childhood infections. With this illness, the middle ear becomes red, swollen, and inflamed because of bacteria trapped in the eustachian tube.

    Middle ear infection

    illustration

  • External and internal ear

    External and internal ear

    The ear is a complicated organ controlling hearing and balance. When sounds waves reach the ear, they are translated into nerve impulses. These impulses then travel to the brain where they are interpreted by the brain as sound.

    External and internal ear

    illustration

  • Foreign object in ear

    Foreign object in ear

    Children often place objects into their ears that can get stuck in the ear canal. It is important to remove the object since infection is most likely to occur. In most cases, a doctor will need to use special instruments to examine the ear and safely remove the foreign object.

    Foreign object in ear

    illustration

  • Battle's sign - behind the ear

    Battle's sign - behind the ear

    Skull fractures are common in children and result from accidents (the majority are automobile or auto/bike accidents) or abuse. Battle's sign is seen several days following a basilar skull fracture. There may have been bloody drainage from the ear immediately after the fracture occurred.

    Battle's sign - behind the ear

    illustration

  • Keloid above the ear

    Keloid above the ear

    Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue that follow skin injuries. Keloids may appear after such minor trauma as ear piercing. Dark skinned individuals tend to form keloids more readily than lighter skinned individuals.

    Keloid above the ear

    illustration

  • Ear tube insertion  - series

    Ear tube insertion - series

    Presentation

  • Ear surgery  - series

    Ear surgery - series

    Presentation

Review Date: 2/19/2018

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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