Antibiotics For Ear Infections In Adults
If otitis media is characteristic for children, external and internal ear infections are most commonly seen in adults. Cephalexin is considered one of the most effective antibiotics in the treatment of otitis. The severity of the main otitis media symptoms, like pain, inflammation and itching, reduce already on the second day of the antibiotic administration.
Amoxicillin is effective against highly resistant bacteria that cause ear infections. The antibiotic from Penicillins class relieves the basic symptoms of otitis in 7-10 days.
Zithromax is suitable for those, who are experiencing an acute allergy to penicillin. It is an Azithromycin-based drug. The dose of Zithromax 500 mg per day, divided into two doses, is enough to get rid of ear infections symptoms within 3-5 days.
Ciprofloxacin is the most prescribed antibiotic in the treatment of acute inflammatory forms of internal otitis. Ciprofloxacin of 500 mg taken just for a week relieves the symptoms of otitis media.
Cephalexin is suitable for the treatment of acute and chronic forms of external otitis, when pus appears at the inflammation site. To get rid of ear infections, patients should take 250-500 mg of Cephalexin per day, divided into 2 or 4 doses.
You will need a total of 5-10 days to get rid of the main otitis media symptoms with Cefdinir. This antibiotic, just like Cephalexin, belong to the Cephalosporins group. Cefdinir should be taken at a dose of 600 mg once a day .
Can Ear Infections Be Prevented
Some lifestyle choices can help protect kids from ear infections:
- Breastfeed infants for at least 6 months to help to prevent the development of early episodes of ear infections. If a baby is bottle-fed, hold the baby at an angle instead of lying the child down with the bottle.
- Prevent exposure to secondhand smoke, which can increase the number and severity of ear infections.
- Parents and kids should wash their hands well and often. This is one of the most important ways to stop the spread of germs that can cause colds and, therefore, ear infections.
- Keep children’s immunizations up to date because certain vaccines can help prevent ear infections.
Ear Infection Home Treatments And Remedies
Ear infections can occur in the outer ear , middle ear , and inner ear . Natural and home remedies to treat pain include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen
- Applying a warm compress on the infected ear.
- Applying naturopathic ear drops with ginger, tea tree, or olive oil may help with pain and inflammation.
Talk with your doctor or pediatrician before using any herbal or naturopathic medicine for ear infections.
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What Are Complications Of Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
While serious complications do not occur frequently, it is possible for a sinus infection to cause a direct extension of infection into the brain through a sinus wall, creating a life-threatening emergency .
In addition, other adjacent structures can become infected and develop problems, such as osteomyelitis of bones in the skull and infection around the eye . Rarely, these infections may cause death. The most susceptible individuals to complications are patients with suppressed immune systems, diabetes, and relatively rarely from multiple trauma injuries that may occur in natural disasters.
What Are The Types Of Ototopical Antibiotics
Ototopical antibiotics are available in three forms:
Powders are not approved by FDA, but regionally compounded powders have been in use for years. Powders have the advantage of adhering to and remaining for a long time in moist surfaces. Powders are prepared with several components.
Two preparations of powders used are:
- Gold dust: comprised of chloramphenicol, sulfanilamide and hydrocortisone
- Mastoid powder: comprised of ciprofloxacin, clotrimazole, dexamethasone and boric acid
Creams and ointments
Creams and antibiotics are applied only for bacterial and fungal infections in the external ear and auditory canal, usually with a single dose. Following are some of the antibiotic ointments and creams used for external ear infections:
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What Is The Treatment For Ear Infections
Medications used to treat ear infections include:
- Pseudoephedrine to ease ear pressure
- Antibiotic ear drops for infections of the ear canal
- Steroid ear drops for infections of the ear canal
- Oral antibiotics for infections of the middle ear , and severe infections of the outer ear
For mild cases of ear infection, doctors often recommend watching and waiting before starting use of antibiotics, as many cases will go away on their own. Consult your childs pediatrician before giving any over-the-counter medications to your child.
Home remedies to relieve symptoms include:
- Warm compresses applied to the area to help soothe pain
- Over-the-counter pain eardrops
Why Do Children Get Ear Infections
Infants and young children between 3 months and 3 years old are much more likely to get ear infections than adults. In fact, most children will have at least one ear infection. The main reasons are:
- Differences in Eustachian tubes. These tubes in your ears are shorter and narrower when youre younger, so its easier for them to become blocked. Additionally, the tubes in infants and young children are usually more horizonal than those in adults which means that its harder for fluid to drain.
- Their developing immune system. When infants are about 6 months old, they start losing some of the immunity they were born with. At the same time, babies start becoming more social, sharing both toys and germs. Breastfeeding is one effective way to help strengthen your childs immune system.
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What Are Recurrent Ear Infections
People of all ages can get frequent ear infections, but they are especially common in children about 25% of children experience repeat ear infections. If you or your child has three or more ear infections in a six-month period or four within one year, its a good idea to talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Are recurrent ear infections curable?
Your doctor may recommend ear tube surgery to make it less likely for you or your child to get future ear infections.
Your doctor may also suggest a tonsillectomy to remove infected tonsils and adenoids. This surgery involves removing lumps of tissue from the back of your nose and throat. Getting a tonsillectomy may make it easier for fluid to drain from your ears, reducing the chance of trapped fluid that can cause an ear infection. A tonsillectomy is usually only recommended when antibiotics and ear tubes dont work.
What Happens If An Ear Infection Is Left Untreated
Fluid buildup in the ear can be damaging even if theres no infection and may lead to a ruptured eardrum and hearing loss. So, its important to see the doctor if symptoms remain after finishing the antibiotics. Theyll likely want to take a look in your ear and learn more about your symptoms.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend you see an ear, nose and throat doctor. The ENT doctor may recommend surgery to place small metal or plastic tubes in the ear canal to make it easier for the fluid to drain out. Your doctor may also recommend ear tube surgery for your child if they have recurrent ear infections.
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What Are Complications Of Ear Infections
Complications of ear infections are uncommon with proper treatment. Complications may include:
- Hearing loss: usually temporary but may become permanent if the eardrum or middle ear structures are damaged
- Infection that spreads to nearby tissues, such as infection of the mastoid bone, which helps drain middle ear fluid
- Eardrum tears: most will heal on their own within a few days, though in some cases surgery is needed to repair it
- Speech or developmental delays in infants and toddlers if hearing is impaired
When Do Children Need Tubes In Their Ears
If your child has frequent ear infections, or if he has trouble hearing because of ongoing fluid in the middle ear, he may need a tube inserted through the ear drum and into the middle ear. The tube helps to keep air pressure normal on both sides of the ear drum and helps fluid drain from the middle ear.
Putting tubes in requires a brief operation by an ear, nose and throat surgeon. Children usually go home the same day.
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How Long Does An Ear Infection Last
In many cases, ear infections clear up in a couple of weeks without treatment. But some ear infections can last for months.
So why do some ear infections last longer than others? The reasons include your health, the location of the infection and whats causing the infection. Inner ear infections tend to stick around longer than infections of the middle or outer ear. And infections caused by bacteria usually last longer than ones caused by viruses.
Differences Between Middle Ear Infection And Outer Ear Infection
|Middle ear infection||Outer ear infection|
|Middle ear infection Usually affects children||Outer ear infection Usually affects adults aged 45 to 75|
|Middle ear infection Caused by viruses like colds and flu||Outer ear infection Caused by something irritating the ear canal, such as eczema, water or wearing ear plugs|
|Middle ear infection Affects the middle ear||Outer ear infection Affects the ear canal|
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What If My Ear Infection Doesnt Go Away After Antibiotics
If you or your child finish your course of antibiotics, but it seems like the ear infection hasnt gone away, make an appointment with your doctor. Theyll help figure out whats going on and what to do next. Theres a chance that your doctor may prescribe a different type of antibiotic to see if it works better.
Its also possible that the infection is gone but the symptoms arent. This can happen if theres still fluid trapped in the ear, causing a plugged-up feeling, pain or hearing loss. Most of the time the fluid in ears drains within a couple of weeks, but sometimes it sticks around longer.
Can Middle Ear Infections Be Prevented
It’s not possible to prevent middle ear infections, but there are some things you can do that may reduce your child’s risk of developing the condition. These include:
- make sure your child is up-to-date with their routine vaccinations particularly the pneumococcal vaccine and the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine
- avoid exposing your child to smoky environments
- don’t give your child a dummy once they’re older than six to 12 months old
- don’t feed your child while they’re lying flat on their back
- if possible, feed your baby with breast milk rather than formula milk
Avoiding contact with other children who are unwell may also help reduce your child’s chances of catching an infection that could lead to a middle ear infection.
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How Do You Know If An Ear Infection Is Viral Or Bacterial
It can be difficult to tell, at least in the beginning. If you or your child is recovering from a virus , its probably more likely youre dealing with a viral ear infection. If strep throat or pneumonia has been in the house, theres a greater chance that its bacterial. But thats not always the case.
Symptoms are similar with viral and bacterial infections. One difference is you have a higher fever with a bacterial ear infection. However, fevers can also happen with viral infections.
Often, its a bit of a waiting game. If the ear infection goes away on its own within a week or so, you can assume it was caused by a virus. If it isnt improving after a week, it might be a bacterial infection and you should definitely seek medical treatment.
Should I Use Antibiotics For An Ear Infection
Antibiotics are a medicine prescribed by your doctor. If youre dealing with an ear infection caused by bacteria, youll likely need antibiotics. They are the best way of quickly getting rid of a bacterial infection and preventing it from spreading to other parts of the body.
The catch is that antibiotics dont work against viruses if you use antibiotics on a viral ear infection, it can actually make the infection worse. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to a condition called antibiotic resistance, which means that the medicine becomes less effective at fighting off bacteria.
Thats why doctors are careful about using antibiotics wisely and may not immediately prescribe them for ear infections.
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How Middle Ear Infections Are Treated
Most ear infections clear up within three to five days and dont need any specific treatment. If necessary, paracetamol or ibuprofen should be used to relieve pain and a high temperature.
Make sure any painkillers you give to your child are appropriate for their age. Read more about giving your child painkillers.
Antibiotics arent routinely used to treat middle ear infections, although they may occasionally be prescribed if symptoms persist or are particularly severe.
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Treating Middle Ear Infections
The middle ear is internal. It starts behind the eardrum and goes to the oval window . It contains three tiny bones, called the ossicles, that are necessary for hearing function.
The auditory tube runs from the middle ear to the throat. Its function is to ventilate and equalize pressure in the middle ear. Fluid from the middle ear space drains into the throat and is usually swallowed.
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What’s The Difference Between The Middle Ear Infections We Get As Children Versus The Middle Ear Infections We Get As Adults
Dr. Wang: The underlying causes are usually different. They are more frequent in children because their shorter, more horizontal Eustachian tubes are more likely to get blocked. Also, their adenoids are larger compared to the rest of the throat and can interfere with the opening of the Eustachian tubes. And finally, children’s immune systems are immature and colds and viruses are often passed around day care and school.
How Is An Acute Middle Ear Infection Treated
Many doctors will prescribe an antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, to be taken over seven to 10 days. Your doctor also may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or eardrops, to help with fever and pain.
If your doctor isnt able to make a definite diagnosis of OM and your child doesnt have severe ear pain or a fever, your doctor might ask you to wait a day or two to see if the earache goes away. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines in 2013 that encourage doctors to observe and closely follow these children with ear infections that cant be definitively diagnosed, especially those between the ages of 6 months to 2 years. If theres no improvement within 48 to 72 hours from when symptoms began, the guidelines recommend doctors start antibiotic therapy. Sometimes ear pain isnt caused by infection, and some ear infections may get better without antibiotics. Using antibiotics cautiously and with good reason helps prevent the development of bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics.
If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, its important to make sure your child takes it exactly as prescribed and for the full amount of time. Even though your child may seem better in a few days, the infection still hasnt completely cleared from the ear. Stopping the medicine too soon could allow the infection to come back. Its also important to return for your childs follow-up visit, so that the doctor can check if the infection is gone.
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Can Adults Prevent Ear Infections
For adults, preventing ear infections often includes routine best practices for good health. You can help prevent ear infections by:
- getting your annual flu shot
- practicing good handwashing and hygiene techniques
- never using cotton swabs in your ear
- routinely disinfecting earbuds and hearing aids
- getting enough rest, eating a balanced diet, and exercising
Antibiotics For Ear Infections: The Best Treatment Options
Ear infections are incredibly common in children, and they can also affect adults. Oftentimes ear infections go away in a few days without any treatment. When an ear infection is severe or doesnt resolve on its own, antibiotics may be a necessary and effective treatment.
In this article, Ill describe the different types of ear infections that affect children and adults. Then Ill discuss the antibiotics used to treat ear infections and their possible side effects.
Finally, Ill explain other treatment options, how best to prevent ear infections, and when you should speak with your doctor or pediatrician.
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Which Antibiotic Is Best For An Ear Infection
Two classes of antibiotics are commonly used to treat an ear infection.
Aminoglycosides have been the main treatment for bacterial ear infections for decades. Two aminoglycosides used in ototopical preparations are:
Though both of the above are commonly used in the United States, only neomycin has FDA approval. Neomycin is effective for gram-positive bacteria but its effectiveness against gram-negative bacteria has declined over years, especially against Pseudomonas, the most common bacteria in ear infections.
Tobramycin is effective for Pseudomonas and other gram-negative bacteria.
Quinolones are the most recently introduced ototopical antibiotics. Most quinolone antibiotics in use are fluoroquinolones, which also contain an atom of fluorine. Fluoroquinolones are considered the best available treatment now for ear infections for two reasons:
- Broad spectrum of activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria
- Lack of ototoxicity
Following are some of the FDA-approved fluoroquinolone solutions for external ear infection from Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa: