The middle ear is the part of the ear found between the oval window and the eardrum. Middle ear infection is often due to an earlier infection of the respiratory tract. This arises when the Eustachian tube is blocked and fluid collects behind the eardrum. There is the growth of bacteria in the fluid, therefore, causing pain and infection. This article elaborates on the best middle ear infection treatments.
Middle ear infections can be diagnosed based on a patient description of his or her symptoms or through a physical exam. An otoscope is used by a qualified doctor to check the ears as well as the nasal passage. It is important to look for an ear drum rupture. Your doctor will want to look for foreign bodies such as insects. Other common tests that may be carried out include tympanometry, tympanocentesis, and acoustic reflectometry.
6 Most Effective Middle Ear Infection Treatments
1. Warm Compress or Water Bottle
Application of some heat to the infected ear is among the best and the fastest method of middle ear infection treatments. This remedy can be self-administered at home. Use of warmth helps relieve pain and prevent micro-organism infestation.
Press a warm water bottle against the ear. In instances where a water bottle is not available, a warm compress can be used. This is done by dipping a clean cloth in warm water. You should remove the excess water by squeezing the cloth before placing it on the infected ear.
Heat should not be applied for a prolonged period to the infected ear. The patient is advised to apply heat for the first five minutes, remove the heat then apply again if pain resumes.
Garlic use is an effective remedy in middle ear infection treatments. This is due to its antimicrobial properties and natural pain relieving qualities. There are several ways in which garlic can be used to treat ear infections. Garlic oil can be made by cooking two cloves in sesame oil. Let the preparation turn blackish and strain. When the mixture is bearably hot, put two to four drops of this preparation in the infected ear.
Alternatively, boil two to three fresh cloves of garlic in water for seven minutes. Crush the cloves and add some table salt. Put the mixture on a clean piece of cloth and place it on the infected ear. This will help relieve pain from the infected ear.
It has been observed that daily consumption of two to three cloves of raw garlic helps in speeding up the healing process of ear infections.
3. Ear Tubes
Ear tubes are used where there is recurrent middle ear infection with effusion. A tiny hole in the eardrum is created by a surgeon enabling suction of fluids out of the middle ear. A tube is placed in the opening. This is to help ventilate the middle ear and prevent further accumulation of fluids. Some tubes are intended to stay for more than a year and are surgically removed. Other tubes are designed to stay for less than a year and they drop off by themselves.
4. Antibiotic Therapy
In most cases, antibiotics are the most effective middle ear infection treatments. Antibiotic therapy is initiated after a follow up is done on the patient. The patient should be presenting with middle ear pain and his or her body temperature should be less than 102.2F in the past 24 hours. Additionally, for antibiotic therapy to be initiated, the patient should be having moderate to severe middle ear pain. The body temperature should be 102.2F for at least 48 hours.
Amoxicillin is recommended as the first line therapy for middle ear infection treatments. It is administered for ten days. For children who cannot swallow oral antibiotics, ceftriaxone injection is recommended. Change of therapy will be required for patients who do not respond to amoxicillin. This should be done if symptoms are not alleviated within the first forty-eight to seventy-two hours of treatment.
5. Table Salt
Measure out one cup of salt and heat it in a pan over low heat for several minutes. A microwave oven can also be used to heat the salt. Get a clean cloth and place the hot salt on it. The end of the cloth is sealed with a knot or a rubber band.
When the heat from the heated salt is bearable, the patient should lie down and place the cloth over the infected ear. This should be done for five to ten minutes. This procedure should be repeated as many times as possible to obtain maximum results.
Heat obtained from the heated table salt helps to draw water from the middle ear. This relieves pain and swelling.
6. Olive or Mustard Oil
Wax left for too long in the ear is a predisposing factor for middle ear infection. The wax will provide a conducive environment for fungi and bacteria to grow and thrive. The fungal or bacterial growth causes blockage of the Eustachian tube. This leads to pain in the ear.
The obstruction is easily cleared by use of olive or mustard oil. The oil is heated slightly. Put some drops of the oil in the infected ear and it will soften the wax. Cotton swabs should be used to remove the infected wax from the ear. Precaution should be taken while inserting the cotton swabs in the ear to avoid damaging the eardrum.
Types of Middle Ear Infections
Middle ear infections are commonly referred to as otitis media. They can be categorized into three main types:
- Acute Otitis media. Occurs relatively sudden. A diagnosis is made when a physician observes fluid flowing from your middle ear.
- Otitis media with effusion. When your doctor notes some fluid in your middle ear with no quantitative signs of an infection, such case is referred to as otitis media with effusion.
- Chronic Otitis media. Referred to as chronic due to recurrent ear infection. Sometimes it maybe suppurative with ear drum perforation.
Middle ear infections should be treated as soon as they occur to prevent further infections to other parts of the body. Early treatment also reduces the risk of losing the hearing ability. Appropriate and proper middle ear infection treatments will eliminate any probability of complications to occur. Good hygiene practices and avoiding second-hand smoke will help prevent the occurrence of ear infections.
Image from depositphotos.com.
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