By the age of 3, more than 80% of children have had at least one ear infection. While ear infections are more common in children, they can occur in adults, where they’re more likely to cause complications. Wade Han, MD, FACS, leads the team at Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery, where they provide comprehensive care that alleviates your ear pain and prevents chronic infections. To get help for an ear infection from Dr. Han or Megha Parekh, PA-C, schedule an appointment online or call one of the offices in Orlando or Kissimmee, Florida.
Middle ear infections, or otitis media, develop when bacteria or viruses get into the Eustachian tube. This tube connects the back of your nose to your middle ear, which makes it the perfect pathway for an upper respiratory or allergy-related infection to spread from your nose into the middle ear.
Ear infections are more common in children because their immature Eustachian tubes are short, making it easy for microorganisms to travel to the ear. Once the Eustachian tube is inflamed and swollen, mucus and fluids build up in the middle ear.
If the fluid buildup remains after the infection heals, you can develop a chronic middle ear infection. When a chronic infection goes untreated, it may damage the middle ear bones and lead to hearing loss.
Pain is the primary symptom of an ear infection, and in many cases the pain is severe. An ear infection may also block your hearing, and some of the excess fluid may drain from the ear.
When children have an ear infection, they may also develop a fever, have trouble sleeping, become fussy, and cry more than usual.
Schedule an appointment at Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery when:
It’s also a good idea to check in with Dr. Han or Megha if your infant or toddler had a recent upper respiratory infection and now has ear symptoms.
Dr. Han may prescribe pain medications to alleviate the symptoms, then take a wait-and-see approach. The acute symptoms usually improve in a few days, and most ear infections heal in 1-2 weeks.
Ear infections can be treated with antibiotics — and the doctor may determine that antibiotics are necessary — but using these medications too often allows bacteria to become resistant to the drugs.
If fluids stay in the middle ear longer than a few months or the ear infection recurs, Dr. Han may insert ear tubes. The tubes ventilate the ear and let fluids drain, which prevents future ear infections.
If you or your child develop an ear infection, schedule an appointment online or call Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery.