Earache

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

An earache is a sharp, dull or burning pain in one of both ears. In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about earaches and what causes them.

Dr. Hill:

Earaches usually occur in children but they can occur in adults as well. A tube called the Eustachian tube connects the middle ear with the back of the nose. Normally this tube lets fluid drain out of the middle ear. If bacteria or viruses infect the lining of the Eustachian tube, the tube gets swollen and fills with thick mucus. This keeps fluid in the ear from draining normally. Bacteria can grow in the fluid, increasing pressure behind the eardrum and causing pain.

The most common symptoms of an acute middle ear infection are ear pain and fever. Acute ear infections usually clear up within one or two weeks. After an infection, fluid may stay in the middle ear. This may lead to more infections and hearing loss.

If your doctor thinks the infection is caused by bacteria, he or she may prescribe an antibiotic. Pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help with the pain and reduce fever. Your doctor may also prescribe ear drops to relieve pain.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.