Frequently observed in children than in adults, an ear infection is often a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear, the space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear.
The onset of signs and symptoms of ear infection are usually very rapid and may include;
- Pain inside the ear
- A high body temperature ( above 38°C)
- Hearing difficulties
- Discharge (fluid, pus or blood) running out of the ear
- Itching and irritation around the ear
- Sensation of pressure or fullness inside the ear
- Scaly skin in and around the ear
Young children and babies with ear infections may also;
- Rub or pull their ear
- Have no reaction to sound
- Be irritable or restless, having difficulties sleeping
- Loss of appetite
When you feel any of these signs and symptoms, do well to consult with your physician.
Ear drops and sprays are medicines put in place to remove wax, prevent or treat ear infections and ear pains, especially infections of the outer ear and ear canal, associated with itching and discharge
How to use your ear drops/sprays
- Read the label of the product very carefully
- Wash your hands with soapy water.
- Clean and dry the ear gently with a facecloth or towel.
- If necessary, shake the bottle of drops (if a suspension)
- Warm the ear drops or spray by holding the bottle in the hand for a few minutes to avoid feeling dizzy or disoriented in case the drops are too cold
- Remove the lid.
- Lie down on side with the affected ear uppermost (or tilt the head to one side).
- Gently pull the ear lobe upwards and backwards (for and adult) or downwards and backwards (for children), to straighten the ear canal.
- Drop the required number of drops or spray into the ear canal (as prescribed)
- Gently massage just in front of the ear.
- Stay lying down or with the head tilted for five minutes to allow the medication to run down the ear canal.
- Return to the upright position and wipe away any excess medication.
- Repeat if necessary in the other ear.
- Replace the lid
Ear care precautions
- Do not to scratch the ear canal with fingers, cotton buds, hair grips, etc. as this may further irritate the ear canal and in the case of excess wax, may push the wax and dirt further into the ear. The ear cleans itself and the wax will fall out of the ear as flakes or small crusts from time to time.
- Do not plug the ear with cotton wool.
- Try not to let soap or shampoo get into your ear when showering or washing hair as this may further irritate the ear canal.
- Swimming is not advised while receiving treatment for ear problems. Tightly fitting swimming caps covering the ears should be used if swimming is unavoidable.
- Discard any remaining ears drops four weeks after opening.
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About the author
Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.
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