People often think of kids when they hear “ear infection,” but did you know that adults can also get them? In fact, ear infections still happen to 20% of adults. Bacteria and viruses don’t care about how old someone is.
People with weak immune systems or inflamed ears need to be on the lookout and know the signs so they can get help quickly. In this article, we’ll talk about six of the most important signs of an ear infection, as well as ways to keep your ears safe.
Signs of an ear infection
Mild itching in the ear canal is one of the first signs of an ear infection. If you don’t do anything about it, this itching can get worse over time. If you scratch your ears a lot, you might want to see a doctor to make sure you don’t have an infection. Don’t forget that early detection is the key to getting care and relief quickly.
As an ear infection gets worse, the inside and outside of the ear can become red. This redness is a clear sign of inflammation and shouldn’t be ignored. If your ears or the area around them look red for no reason, you should see a doctor right away.
3. Trouble or Pain
In the early stages of an ear infection, pain in the ear is a familiar sign. You might feel general pain or soreness in your ear, especially when you touch the earlobe or tragus. As the problem gets worse, you may also feel like your ear is full. In some cases, the pain may even spread to your face, neck, or head. Don’t ignore these signs of pain because they could mean you have an infection that needs to be treated.
4. Drainage of Fluid
Another sign to look out for is fluid coming out of the ear that is hurt. At first, this waste may be small and have no smell. But as the problem gets worse, it can become too much. If you see fluid coming out of your ear that doesn’t seem normal, you should see a doctor to get a correct diagnosis and the right treatment.
In serious cases, ear infections can make it hard to hear or cause the ear to ring constantly. Also, if an infection isn’t handled, it can make the lymph nodes swell up and cause a fever because of a blockage in the ear canal. If you have any of these signs, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
How to avoid getting an ear infection
Taking precautions can do a lot to keep your ears from getting infections. Here are some things you can do to lower your risk:
Avoid using cotton buds:
Don’t use cotton swabs to clean your ears. It might be tempting, but cotton swabs can push earwax deeper into the ear canal, which could do more harm than good. It is best not to use cotton swabs at all and just let your ears clean themselves.
Say no to foreign objects:
It’s important not to put things like keys, hairpins, or paper clips into your ears. These things can make itching worse and even hurt the thin skin inside the ear canal. Stick to the gentle cleaning methods that your doctor or nurse has suggested.
Protect your ears when you swim.
If you get ear infections often, you might want to wear a swimming cap to keep water out of your ears. Earplugs made for swimming that are made to be comfortable can also add an extra layer of safety. Talk to your doctor to get suggestions that fit your needs.
Dry your ears after being in water:
It’s important to dry your ears well after being in water to stop wetness from building up, which can make it easy for bacteria and viruses to grow. Turn your head to the side and gently wipe your ears with a towel.
If there is still water, you can use a blow dryer on low speed and heat to make sure everything is dry. Just make sure to keep it away from your ear to avoid getting hurt by the heat.
Remember that these tips can help lower the chance of getting an ear infection, but you should always talk to your doctor for personalised advice. Depending on your medical background and needs, they can give you more advice on how to stay safe.
Have you ever had an illness in your ear? How did you respond? In the comments below, please tell us about your experience.