Double Ear Infection

Breast feeding can protect a child from ear infection
Irritability is Commonly Seen in Children Suffering from Double Ear Infection

Suffering from an ear infection is bad enough. What about those suffering from infections in both the ears named as double ear infections? It’s pathetic!

Double Ear Infections

Though not serious, symptoms of double ear infections are severe and can cause pain to the individual. Common symptoms include:

  • Extreme pain in the ear
  • Headache
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Lingering fever for more than a couple of days
  • Hearing problems
  • Liquid draining from the ear

Symptoms in infants/toddlers include crying continuously, loss of interest in feeding, constant pulling on the ears, irritability and fever.

Causes

  1. Bacteria or virus in the middle ear can cause infection
  2. Individuals suffering from upper respiratory infections can also develop ear infection
  3. Enlarged adenoids (tissue at the back of the nose)
  4. Infection in one ear can spread to the other ear resulting in double ear infection

Risks

While the infection is not dangerous several persistent or recurrent infections can cause:

  • Ruptured eardrums where the eardrum heals within a few weeks.
  • Infants and toddlers who suffer from frequent hearing loss (this is the most common complication of double-ear infections that will vanish once the infection clears away) experience delays in speech and development
  • Risk of the infection spreading to other areas of the body

Diagnosis & Treatment

All individuals are required to meet the doctor if symptoms persist for more than 24 hours and in case of infants it is advisable to meet the doctor immediately after noticing any symptoms. In case the affected individual suffers from pus or blood discharge it is required to meet a doctor immediately.

The doctor understands the symptoms and uses an otoscope to examine both ears for signs of redness, swelling or pus. A pneumatic otoscope can help identify how much the eardrum moves in response to pressure. Lack of response suggests fluid buildup behind the ear. Treatment involves dispensing antibiotics or surgery in the case of smaller children suffering intermittent ear infections. Some even try home remedies in the form of hot compress to soothe pain and clear infection. Here, a cloth is soaked in warm water, excess water is squeezed out and the cloth is placed over the affected area.

Prevention

It is quite difficult to avoid ear infections in children altogether, but we can take as much steps as possible from our end to minimize the frequency of occurrence:

  • Avoiding contact with sick people
  • Educate children to abstain from sharing utensils
  • Washing hands frequently using the ‘Happy birthday’ song technique elaborated at www.firsteatright.com.
  • Stay away from cigarette smoke
  • Get the child immunized as per the schedule
  • Breast feed infants whenever possible holding them in upright position while feeding
  • Never leave the bottle intact in the child’s mouth during sleep as prolonged bottle-feeding can increase ear and sinus infections, acid reflux and cough

While a double ear infection starts subsiding soon after treatment is initiated the patient recovers 100% only after completing the entire course of treatment.

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