What’s worse than one ear infection? Two! Fortunately, the treatment for a double ear infection is similar to that of an infection that only occurs in one ear. But that doesn’t make it any less annoying. Continue reading to learn more about what a double ear infection is and how it’s treated.
What Is an Ear Infection?
An ear infection occurs when fluid becomes built up in the space behind the eardrum. Caused by either a viral or bacterial infection in the middle ear, which is usually the result of another illness such as a cold, flu or allergies, congestion and swelling can also occur in the nasal passage, throat and Eustachian tubes.
Symptoms of an ear infection include:
- Drainage from the ears
- Difficulty sleeping
- Hearing loss
- Nasal congestion
- Hoarse voice or cough
- Poor appetite
Unilateral Vs. Bilateral Ear Infections
Unilateral ear infections refer to an ear infection in only one ear. A bilateral ear infection, which usually starts as a unilateral ear infection before developing into a double infection, is an ear infection that affects both ears.
While the clinical picture of a double ear infection is frequently more severe than that of an infection in only one ear, the overlap of clinical symptoms is common. The symptoms listed above are prevalent in both a bilateral and unilateral infection. The main difference is that the fever of a bilateral ear infection is usually worse, and those with a double ear infection often experience a bulging of the eardrum in both ears.
Older children and adults are usually able to vocalize that they are experiencing pain and pressure in both ears. Infants, however, are unable to convey this information. If your child has a fever and is pulling on both of their ears, this is a sign they may have a bilateral ear infection and you should contact their pediatrician.
Treatments for Ear Infections
There are three common treatments for ear infections, which are prescribed depending on the cause of the infection.
Only ear infections caused by bacteria respond to antibiotics. In the form of eardrops or oral medication, ear infections are commonly treated with amoxicillin, as long as patients are not allergic.
Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used to help ease symptoms. Your Ray’s Pharmacy pharmacist can help you pick the right medication to fit your needs.
Placing a warm compress over your ears can help ease your ear pain. Simply soak a washcloth in warm water, making sure to wring it out completely before placing it over your ears.
If your child is developing chronic or recurrent ear infections, this may be a sign their Eustachian tubes are not functioning properly. If so, your ENT provider may recommend ear tubes. This simple procedure surgically places tubes within the ear to help with drainage and ventilation.
To learn more about double ear infection treatments or to schedule an appointment with an ear specialist, contact Red River ENT Associates today.