Question: How Do I Know If My Ear Infection Is Bacterial Or Viral?

Can I leave an ear infection untreated?

Ear infections can lead to more serious complications, including mastoiditis (a rare inflammation of a bone adjacent to the ear), hearing loss, perforation of the eardrum, meningitis, facial nerve paralysis, and possibly — in adults — Meniere’s disease..

Do I need antibiotics for ear infection?

Antibiotics are often not needed for middle ear infections because the body’s immune system can fight off the infection on its own. However, sometimes antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, are needed to treat severe cases right away or cases that last longer than 2–3 days.

How long does it take for an ear infection to heal in adults?

Most ear infections that affect the outer or middle ear are mild and go away within one to two weeks. Inner ear disorders can last longer. Chronic ear infections can last 6 weeks or more.

How do you check for an ear infection?

An instrument called a pneumatic otoscope is often the only specialized tool a doctor needs to diagnose an ear infection. This instrument enables the doctor to look in the ear and judge whether there is fluid behind the eardrum. With the pneumatic otoscope, the doctor gently puffs air against the eardrum.

What happens if an ear infection doesn’t go away?

Possible Complications A chronic ear infection may cause permanent changes to the ear and nearby bones, including: Infection of the mastoid bone behind the ear (mastoiditis) Ongoing drainage from a hole in the eardrum that does not heal, or after ear tubes are inserted. Cyst in the middle ear (cholesteatoma)

Do ear infections clear up on their own?

Most ear infections cure themselves without the help of antibiotics. “An ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection that affects the ear. It becomes painful when buildups of fluid and inflammation occur in the air-filled space behind the eardrum,” says Leanna Munoz, Mayo Clinic Health System nurse practitioner.

How long can you leave an ear infection untreated?

Eustachian tubes do not work properly when filled with drainage from the nose or mucous from allergies, colds, bacteria, or viruses because the drainage presses on the eardrum, which is what causes the pain. A chronic ear infection can last for 6 weeks or more, but most go away on their own after 3 days.

When an ear infection is serious?

This infection can result in damage to the bone and the formation of pus-filled cysts. Rarely, serious middle ear infections spread to other tissues in the skull, including the brain or the membranes surrounding the brain (meningitis). Tearing of the eardrum. Most eardrum tears heal within 72 hours.

When should you go to the doctor for an ear infection?

You should contact your doctor immediately if: The symptoms do not improve within 3 days. Body temperature rises above 100.4 degrees as an accompanying fever could indicate a more serious infection. Ear infections are being experienced regularly, as they can eventually lead to hearing loss.

How do you remove fluid from your ear?

How to remove water from your ear canalJiggle your earlobe. This first method may shake the water out of your ear right away. … Make gravity do the work. … Create a vacuum. … Use a blow dryer. … Try alcohol and vinegar eardrops. … Use hydrogen peroxide eardrops. … Try olive oil. … Try more water.More items…•

What kind of antibiotics for ear infections in adults?

Here are some of the antibiotics doctors prescribe to treat an ear infection:Amoxil (amoxicillin)Augmentin (amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate)Cortisporin (neomycin/polymxcin b/hydrocortisone) solution or suspension.Cortisporin TC (colistin/neomycin/thonzonium/hydrocortisone) suspension.More items…•

Can an ear infection get worse while on antibiotics?

However, antibiotics can have side effects, so taking them unnecessarily can make a person feel worse, rather than better. Also, over time, the bacteria that cause some ear infections can become more resistant to antibiotics.

How long does a viral ear infection last?

Middle ear infections often go away on their own within 2 or 3 days, even without any specific treatment. In some cases, an infection can last longer (with fluid in the middle ear for 6 weeks or longer), even after antibiotic treatment.

Are inner ear infections viral or bacterial?

Infections of the inner ear are usually viral; less commonly, the cause is bacterial. Such inner ear infections are not the same as middle ear infections, which are the type of bacterial infections common in childhood affecting the area around the eardrum.

Can an ear infection be a sign of something more serious?

Unlike childhood ear infections, which are often minor and pass quickly, adult ear infections are frequently signs of a more serious health problem. If you’re an adult with an ear infection, you should pay close attention to your symptoms and see your doctor.

What’s the worst ear infection?

Acute otitis media (AOM) is the most common type of ear infection. Parts of the middle ear are infected and swollen, and fluid is trapped behind the eardrum. This causes pain in the ear—commonly called an earache. Your child might also have a fever.

What is the best antibiotic for a ear infection?

Penicillin is the most commonly prescribed medication for treating ear infections. Penicillin antibiotics are typically prescribed by doctors after waiting to see if the infection clears on its own. The most commonly prescribed penicillin antibiotic is amoxicillin.