It Pays To Understand Ear Infection and Its Treatment
Perhaps the most important thing to know with regard to ear infections is that, although their symptoms can be both very distressing and extremely painful, they need have no serious consequences if an appropriate course of treatment is provided once they are recognised. In practice the majority of children are likely to experience some form of this condition on several occasion before they reach their sixth birthday and with no lasting effects. Just once in a while, however, complications may result and the consequences in some instances could be potentially serious enough to warrant exercising a few basic precautions in all cases where these, normally trivial, illnesses may occur.
For a start, in the case of infants, bottle-feeding is now known to increase the risk of these episodes. The explanation is a simple one in that the process fails to provide the essential elements of immunity that are inherent in breast milk and thus, where the latter may be unavailable, maintaining a higher than usual standard of cleanliness can prove to be the best alternative form of defence. Bacteria such as certain species of streptococci and staphylococci as well as a number of different viruses are all known to act as causative agents in these conditions and this type of illness is also a very common occurrence following a cold or a sore throat.
The ear, the nose and the throat are all interconnected and so, not surprisingly. An ear infection may be passed readily either to or from any one or both of the other areas in the absence of suitable treatment. In addition, the first of these consists of three distinct sections, known simply as outer, middle and inner, any or all of which may be affected by a viral or bacterial incursion.
In otitis externa, where only the organ’s outer region is affected, various topical antibiotics such as Cortisporin, Polymixin and Neomycin can be effective. They may be administered in drop form and, in most cases, will remedy the condition within a few days but if pain persists it is almost certainly wise to seek the help of a medical professional. In cases of otitis media or where the inner ear may be affected, topical solutions will be totally ineffective and the use of oral or possibly systemic antibiotics will normally be indicated. Here, once again, evaluation by a medical practitioner and perhaps referral to an ENT specialist will be essential.
The Ear Institute encounters many such cases during its routine examinations and is very often in a position to provide the necessary primary care or to refer patients to another specialist should the need arise. Occasionally, meningitis or permanent deafness can arise from an ear infection so prompt treatment should always follow diagnosis.