Ear Infection Treatment in Fargo
Ear infections are one of the most common conditions children are seen for. An ear infection is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Infections create pressure in the eustachian tube, causing significant pain and discomfort. The eustachian tube is what connects the throat to the middle ear. While not as common, adults can also suffer from this type of infection. If you or your child has an ear infection, it’s important to seek medical treatment to determine the cause of the infection and whether antibiotics are needed.
Ear Infection Treatment Center
Chronic infections can last for several weeks, however, most infections are viral, not bacterial and often go away on their own after 7-10three days. Children exposed to illness from other kids are more likely to suffer from infections, especially during the colder months of the year. Infants who drink from a bottle while lying flat are also more susceptible to ear infections.
What is an Ear Infection?
Otitis media is the most common infection of the middle ear. A middle ear infection causes pain and can affect hearing. This type of infection is either viral or bacterial and results in a build-up of fluid in the middle ear. The accompanying inflammation and fluid build-up increases pressure on the eardrum, causing pain.
The three common types of ear infections include:
Acute Otitis Media (AOM)
With an AOM infection, the middle ear becomes infected and swells, trapping fluid behind the eardrum. In some cases, an AOM infection may be accompanied by a fever.
Otitis Media with Effusion (OME)
Otitis media effusion involves fluid trapped behind the ear, but no infection is present. OME does not alway present symptoms other than impacting the hearing. However, if it does develop into an infection it can cause pain and discomfort.
Otitis Externa (Swimmer’s Ear)
After someone goes for a swim, the water that gets trapped in their ear canal can provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. This type of infection will cause swelling in the outer ear canal. In some cases, it can be caused when there is damage to the thin skin that lines the ear canal, when cleaning the ears out with cotton swabs.
Most infections will clear up on their own. However, it’s important to know when medical attention is needed.
Always contact your medical provider if:
- Symptoms do not improve or worsen after three days
- Temperature above 100.4 degrees
- Infections are experienced regularly
- Infection symptoms are present in an infant under the age of six months
- Bloody fluid, pus, or discharge is present
- Severe ear pain is present
- Loss of balance
- Stiff neck
- Severe headache
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What to Expect at Your Visit
If you visit Altaire Clinic for an ear infection, after you have filled out paperwork, you will have your vitals taken before meeting with your medical provider.
Before the ears are examined, your medical provider will discuss your symptoms, how long you’ve had the infection, and what types of medications or treatments you have tried at home.
Treatment will depend on the type of ear infection you have.
For infections that involve an eardrum that is swollen with pus or fluid, you may be prescribed antibiotics. Steroid drops may also be prescribed to address inflammation.
If your medical provider determines that the cause of your infection is viral, you will not be prescribed antibiotics.
Risk Factors. Living with Ear Infections
These types of infections commonly affect children ages 6-18 months. By the age of three, 2/3 of children will have at least one ear infection. Boys are more likely to have an ear infection than girls.
As children grow older, their immune systems become stronger and their ears enlarge. The risk for recurrent infections significantly decreases by the age of 16 months. After the age of 5, most children will no longer be susceptible to ear infections.
Other risk factors for this type of infection include:
- Upper respiratory infections/sinus infection
- Enrollment in daycare
- Exposure to cigarette smoke
- Bottle feeding
- Pacifier use
Recurrent infections can affect hearing for a period of time. However, the hearing loss is usually not permanent or substantial for most children. Hearing loss is often temporary but can slow down language development.
Serious complications from infections are not common, but can include:
- Ruptured eardrum
- Structural damage
- Facial paralysis
How to Limit Symptoms.
For mild infections, over the counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can relieve pain and inflammation. Hot or cold compresses can also help.
In many cases, scheduling an appointment with a medical provider can be the best way to ensure the infection is viral and will not result in complications. Antibiotics are not prescribed for viral infections, only bacterial infections.
Can Ear Infections be Cured?
Viral ear infections often resolve on their own. Bacterial ear infections will require antibiotics. A medical provider can examine you or your child to determine the cause of the infection and may recommend treatments or prescribe other medications that can relieve pain and inflammation.
Cost of Treatment / Insurance
Most insurance plans will cover the cost of treatment for bites and burns. To learn more about what your policy covers, you must contact your insurance provider directly.
Below is a list of the accepted insurance providers at Altaire Clinic.
- BCBS of MN
- BCBS of ND
- Health Partners
- ND Medicaid
- Preferred One
- Tricare/Health Net Federal Services
- United Health Care
- VA PC3 (Optum)
*Please contact us if you have any questions as to if we accept your insurance.
Make an Appointment
If you or your child are experiencing ear pain, discomfort, inflammation, and other symptoms, contact Altaire Clinic today to schedule an appointment. A medical provider can meet with you to discuss your symptoms, perform an exam, and determine if the cause of the infection is bacterial or viral. It’s important to seek medical treatment for an ear infection to rule out a bacterial infection and to prevent complications. Contact us today at (701) 356-5503 to schedule a consultation.
Why Choose Altaire Clinic
At Altaire Clinic, you’ll find a compassionate, caring, experienced medical staff that wants to help you feel your best. We’re dedicated to providing high-quality patient care and offer flexible appointments that can work with your busy schedule. Contact us today to learn more.
Common Questions About Ear Infections
How Can I Treat an Ear Infection Myself?
You can use over the counter pain medication including acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help alleviate pain and inflammation. A hot or cold compress can also provide pain relief.
Do Ear Infections Go Away on Their Own?
Viral ear infections often resolve on their own within 7-10 days. Bacterial infections may require antibiotic treatment.
How Do You Know if You Have an Ear Infection?
If you have ear pain and discomfort that worsens after the first day and is accompanied by a feeling of fullness in the ear canal, you may have an ear infection. If you have never had an ear infection before or the symptoms worsen, lasting longer than three days, schedule an appointment with your medical provider.
When Should I Go to a Doctor for an Ear Infection?
Schedule an appointment with your medical provider if you have pain that worsens after three days, there is blood, pus, or discharge from the ear canal, you are experiencing severe pain, loss of balance, vomiting, nausea, or a fever over 100.4.
We encourage you to book a consultation, so one of our providers can personally discuss your needs and recommend the procedures best suited to your lifestyle. Contact us by phone or use the convenient form below so you can reach your ultimate health, wellness, & beauty goals.