Ear infections are often caused by bacteria, but they can sometimes be a bi-product of viruses too. Persistent or severe cases may be treated with antibiotic medicine.
- Result of a mucus build-up
- Symptoms include pain and loss of hearing
- Not difficult to treat
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Ear infections can be caused by either bacteria, or a virus. They are incredibly common, and can develop in adults as well as in children. Symptoms include pain in the ear, a rise in temperature, loss of hearing, and a drop in energy. Complications are rare, however it is still important if the problem remains to get treatment, so that the infection does not spread.
Where the condition is caused by a bacterial infection, the problem usually stems from an excess of mucus in the middle ear and Eustachian tube. This tube is the connecting channel between the middle ear and the nose, and its purpose is to help evacuate mucus and debris which can mount in the ear. If this tube becomes blocked with mucus, bacteria can develop in the middle ear and cause the area to become infected.
One other potential cause of middle ear infections is when the back of the throat becomes inflamed and swollen, for instance during a cold or viral illness. This swelling can also present an obstruction in the Eustachian tube, making it harder for fluid to drain and allowing mucus to collect in the ear.
How the condition is treated will depend mostly on the severity of symptoms, and the success of over-the-counter drugs in relieving discomfort. For most, the infection will clear up on its own within a period of around three days, and not require medical intervention. Others may take non-prescription painkillers to help alleviate pain.
Those instances where symptoms persist, however, may necessitate prescription antibiotics.
How are the types of treatment for an ear infection?
In many cases, symptoms of an ear infection will dissipate on their own within a matter of days, and can be treated with mild painkillers.
However, more persistent and uncomfortable cases may require prescription medication. This may include medications aimed at treating the inflammation caused by the infection, such as Otomize, or antibiotics may be necessary, such as Phenoxymethylpenicillin.
Your GP will be able to determine whether your ear infection requires treatment.