More than 3 million ear infections are diagnosed every year.
In fact ear infections, medically known as Otitis Media, are the second-most commonly diagnosed childhood illness in the United States (the Common Cold comes in first).
The following Centra Care Urgent Care centers saw the greatest increases in children:
Altamonte Springs: up 160%
Waterford Lakes: up 260%
Dr. Phillips: up 200%
Colonial Town: up 400%
Otitis Media occurs when the ear lining becomes swollen, and fluid builds up – that can cause ear pain and infection. Ear infections often follow an upper respiratory infection.
What Are the Symptoms of an Ear Infection?
- Earache (either a sharp, sudden pain or a dull, continuous pain).
- Fever and chills
- Nasal congestion may accompany or precede an ear infection.
- A feeling of fullness in the ear.
- Nausea may accompany an earache
- Muffled hearing
- Ear drainage
What to look for in young children: (who are too young to speak)
- Tugging at the ear
- Ear drainage
- Diminished appetite
- Crying when lying down
Doctors try to distinguish between the different forms of Otitis Media in order to determine the most effective treatment options. Because of complications associated with ear infections, it’s important to see a physician to determine what is causing your earache. Not all forms of Otitis Media need to be treated with antibiotics. If bacteria cause the infection, antibiotics may be recommended.
When do you need to see a doctor?
- If an ear hurts, only your doctor can tell if there is an infection in the middle ear that will require an antibiotic.
- If you or your child has difficulty hearing.
- If you or your child has any fluid or blood draining from the ear.
Ear infections are not contagious, though the cold that may lead to one probably is.