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Infectious Diseases / Bacteria / Viruses

Whooping cough: What you need to know

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Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, also known as pertussis. Whooping cough is also known in some countries as the 100 day cough.

The disorder is named after a distinctive hacking cough, accompanied by a high-pitched air gasp that sounds like a “whoop.”

About 157 people per 100,000 had developed whooping cough in the United States prior to vaccination.

Peaks occurred every 2-5 years. They were children under the age of 10 in 93 per cent of cases. Experts claim that the actual occurrence was much higher at that time, since not all cases were registered.

Since mass vaccination was introduced in the 1940s, whooping cough rates fell to below 1 in 100,000 by 1970. It currently primarily affects infants who are too young to have undergone the entire course of vaccines, as well as teenagers whose immunity has waned. Since 1980, however, figures have begun creeping back up.

Important facts about whooping cough

Here are some key points about whooping cough. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Whooping cough is caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacterium.
  • Children who are not vaccinated are 23 times more likely to develop whooping cough.
  • The bacterium is spread in tiny droplets of water when the patient coughs and sneezes.
  • Infants with whooping cough are usually admitted to hospital for treatment.

Symptoms

Whooping cough image
Whooping cough symptoms start off mild and progress.

Whooping cough symptoms typically occur 6-20 days after the patient has been infected with the Bordetella pertussis bacterium, that is, pertussis has an incubation period of 6-to-20 days.

The disease begins with mild symptoms and then get much worse before it improves. Initial signs and symptoms of pertussis mimic common cold:

Initial symptoms

  • blocked nose
  • dry and irritating cough
  • malaise (general feeling of being unwell)
  • mild feve
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • watery eyes
  • diarrhea (sometimes)

For the first week the above signs and symptoms are normal, after which they get more severe.

Later (paroxysmal) symptoms

In the second stage of “paroxysmal” signs include:

Severe bouts of coughing – a bout can last a couple of minutes. Every bout sometimes comes so soon after the last one that the patient has cluster bouts that last for tens of minutes. Typically there’s 10-15 bouts every day.

During a bout of coughing, the patient finally gasps between coughs for air, and often creates a “whoop” sound immediately after the bout is over. This is less common in very young kids and babies-they may gag or gasp, or even temporarily stop breathing.

Young children can turn blue in the face (cyanosis) during a bout of coughing. Even though it’s terrifying for parents, it’s almost never as bad as it looks and breathing will soon resume.

Vomiting can be accompanied by coughing bouts; this is more common in young children and infants.

Whooping cough paroxysmal symptoms are less severe in adults and adolescents than in infants and young children-they are typically close to the bronchitis symptoms.

Whooping cough can in very rare cases cause sudden unexpected death in babies.

Recovery stage

At this point, the patient begins to show signs of recovery. There are less coughing bouts, which are less frequent too. The recovery stage could take 3 months or more. The patient can even experience bouts of intense coughing at this stage.

Causes

Bordetella pertussis is a bacterial infection caused by whoping cough. Infection occurs in the airway lining, especially in the trachea ( windpipe) as well as in the bronchi (airways that branch off the trachea into the lungs).

It multiplies and paralyzes mucus-clearing components of the lining as soon as Bordetella pertussis reaches the lining of the airways, causing mucus to accumulate. As the mucus builds up the patient tries to expel it by coughing; because there is so much mucus, the coughing becomes more intense.

When airway inflammation worsens (they swell up), they become narrower, making it difficult to breathe and causing the “whoop” when the patient attempts to get back their breath after a bout of coughing.

How does whooping cough spread?

People infected with Bordetella pertussis may transmit the infection to others from 6-20 days after the bacterium has entered their body for 3 weeks after the “whooping” cough has begun.

The bacterium is released into the air in tiny droplets of water. Hundreds of droplets of blood are released into the air as the patient coughs and snees.

If some of this moisture is inhaled by people nearby, they are exposed and may become sick.

Prevention and vaccines

Prevention of whooping cough is key. If a family member is sick, other family members will be advised to be treated with antibiotics.

The pertussis vaccine

The pertussis vaccine prevents whooping cough.
The pertussis vaccine prevents whooping cough.

The pertussis vaccine is required for the general public to avoid the condition; the DTaP vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus , and pertussis.

It is administered to babies and children in a sequence of five injections as part of the prescribed immunization schedule.

It is important that pregnant mothers are vaccinated against pertussis, as well as others that are in close contact with infants (newborns and babies up to 12 months of age.

Whooping cough affects about 48.5 million people per year, 295,000 of whom will die. Pertussis is one of the leading causes of vaccine-preventable deaths worldwide, according to WHO (World Health Organisation). Most cases occur in low- and middle-income countries (over 90 per cent).

Children of parents who would not authorize them to be vaccinated are 23 times more likely than completely immunized children to develop whooping cough, researchers reported in the journal Pediatrics.

Diagnosis and tests

Misdiagnosis is normal during its early stages, as the signs and symptoms are close to those seen in other respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, flu and common cold.

Typically, doctors can diagnose whooping cough by asking questions about symptoms and listening to cough (the sound of whooping cough is notable).

The following diagnostic tests may be ordered:

  • A throat or nose culture test – the doctor or nurse takes a swab or suction sample, which is sent to the lab and checked for the presence of the Bordetella pertussis bacterium.
  • Blood tests – the doctor may want to know what the white blood cell count is. If it is high, it means there is probably some kind of infection.
  • Chest X-ray – the doctor may want to see whether there is any inflammation or fluid in the lungs.

If whooping cough is suspected in an infant, they may need to be diagnosed in a hospital.

Treatment

Infants are usually treated for treatment in hospital because pertussis is more likely to lead to complications for that age group. Intravenous infusions may be appropriate if the child is unable to hold down any fluids or food. The baby is placed in an isolation ward to ensure the disease is not spreading.

Older children, teens and adults will normally be handled at home.

Drugs

Antibiotics are provided to destroy the Bordetella pertussis bacterium, and to help the patient heal more quickly. Antibiotics may be prescribed even for members of the family. Antibiotics can also protect the patient from being contagious within 5 days of their taking.

If pertussis is not detected until the later stages, antibiotics will not be given, because the bacteria have gone away by then.

Corticosteroids – administered when the child has serious symptoms; these are given along with antibiotics. Corticosteroids are strong hormones (steroids) that minimize inflammation in the airways very efficiently, making it easier for the child to breathe.

Oxygen – can be provided via a facemask when additional breathing assistance is needed. It is also possible to use a bulb syringe to absorb mucus that has built up in the airways.

Cough treatment – OTC (over-the-counter) cough medicines are unsuccessful in alleviating the symptoms of whooping cough and doctors warn against its use. Sadly, there’s not much that can be done with cough. Coughing tends to cough up phlegm that builds up in the airways.

Measures you can take at home

Typically the effects are less severe for older children and adults. The health care provider may advise the patient to:

  • Plenty of rest.
  • Consume plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Try to keep excess mucus and vomit cleared from the airways and the back of the throat to prevent choking.
  • Tylenol (acetimophen, paracetamol) or ibuprofen to relieve sore throat and reduce a fever. Do not give aspirin to children under 16.

Complications

Older children and adults-with no complications or problems, most patients recover from pertussis. Complications are caused so much and so intensely by the strain of coughing, and can include:

  • a swollen face
  • abdominal hernias
  • broken blood vessels in the sclera (whites of the eyes)
  • cracked or bruised ribs
  • mouth and tongue ulcers
  • nosebleeds
  • otitis media (middle-ear infection)

Infants and young children are much more susceptible to serious complications from whooping cough, including:

Temporary breathing pause – there is a risk of brain damage due to oxygen deprivation (extremely rare) if the breathing difficulties are severe.

Pregnant mothers, people with a reduced immune system and those with diabetes are at higher risk of complications.

Immune System / Vaccines

Types, symptoms, and treatments of cytomegalovirus

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Cytomegalovirus is a typical herpes virus. Many people are unaware they have it since they show no signs or symptoms.

However, the virus can cause issues during pregnancy and in people with a compromised immune system because it remains dormant in the body.

The virus spreads through bodily fluids and can be passed on to an unborn child by a pregnant woman.

Cytomegalovirus, also known as HCMV, CMV, or human herpesvirus 5 (HHV-5), is the most frequent virus transmitted to a growing baby.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of all people in the United States have contracted the virus by the age of 40. It affects both men and women equally, regardless of age or ethnicity.

Causes

consulting a doctor

Fluids such as saliva, sperm, blood, urine, vaginal fluids, and breast milk can spread acquired cytomegalovirus between people.

The virus can also be contracted by touching a virus-infected surface and then touching the interior of the nose or mouth.

The virus is most commonly contracted in childhood, at daycare centres, nurseries, and other places where children are in close proximity to one another. The immune system of a child at this age, on the other hand, is typically capable of dealing with an infection.

CMV can recur in people who have a compromised immune system as a result of HIV, organ transplantation, chemotherapy, or long-term use of oral steroids.

Congenital CMV develops when a female catches the virus for the first time during pregnancy or shortly before conception.

A dormant CMV infection might resurface during pregnancy, especially if the mother has a compromised immune system.

Symptoms

Depending on the type of CMV, the symptoms will vary.

Acquired CMV

The majority of people with CMV do not show any symptoms, however if they do, they may include:

  • swollen glands
  • joint and muscle pain
  • low appetite and weight loss
  • fever
  • night sweats
  • tiredness and uneasiness
  • sore throat

After two weeks, the symptoms should be gone.

Recurring CMV

The symptoms of recurrent CMV differ depending on which organs have been affected by the infection. The eyes, lungs, and digestive system are all likely to be affected.

Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • fever
  • diarrhea, gastrointestinal ulcerations, and gastrointestinal bleeding
  • shortness of breath
  • pneumonia with hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen
  • mouth ulcers that can be large
  • problems with vision, including floaters, blind spots, and blurred vision
  • hepatitis, or inflamed liver, with prolonged fever
  • encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, leading to behavioral changes, seizures, and even coma.

Any of these symptoms should be reported to a doctor by someone with a reduced immune system.

Congenital CMV

According to the National CMV Foundation, approximately 90% of kids born with CMV show no symptoms, but 10–15% will develop hearing loss during their first 6 months of life. The degree of hearing loss varies from mild to complete deafness.

The infection will affect only one ear in half of these children, but the other half will experience hearing loss in both ears. Hearing loss in both ears can increase the risk of speech and communication issues in the future.

If congenital CMV is present at birth, symptoms may include:

  • enlarged spleen
  • seizures
  • jaundice
  • pneumonia
  • spots under the skin
  • low birth weight
  • Purple skin splotches, a rash, or both
  • enlarged liver

Some of these signs and symptoms can be treated.

In roughly 75% of babies born with congenital CMV, the virus will affect the brain. This could lead to difficulties later in life.

They may be exposed to the following conditions:

  • autism
  • central vision loss, scarring of the retina, and uveitis, or swelling and irritation of the eye
  • cognitive and learning difficulties
  • deafness or partial hearing loss
  • epilepsy
  • impaired vision
  • problems with physical coordination
  • seizures
  • small head

Treatments

Scientists have been looking for a CMV vaccine, however there is no cure as of yet.

People with acquired CMV who encounter the virus for the first time can ease symptoms with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like Tylenol (acetaminophen), ibuprofen, or aspirin, and should stay hydrated.

Antiviral drugs, such as ganciclovir, can be used to inhibit the spread of CMV in people who have it congenitally or on a regular basis.

These drugs have the potential to cause side effects. Hospitalization may be required if there is substantial organ damage.

It’s possible that newborns will need to be admitted to the hospital until their organ functions return to normal.

Prevention

The following precautions may help minimise the risk of developing CMV:

  • Hands should be washed with soap and water on a frequent basis.
  • Kissing a small child should be avoided at all costs, including contact with tears and saliva.
  • When passing around a drink, avoid sharing glasses and kitchen equipment.
  • Diapers, paper handkerchiefs, and other such items should be disposed of with care.
  • To prevent CMV from spreading through vaginal secretions and sperm, use a condom.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises parents and caregivers of children with CMV to seek treatment as soon as possible, whether that means taking medication or attending all appointments for services such as hearing tests.

Types

CMV infections are classified as either acquired, recurrent, or congenital.

  • When a person contracts CMV for the first time, it is known as acquired or primary CMV.
  • When a person already has CMV, it is referred to as recurrent CMV. The virus is dormant and then becomes active due to a weak immune system.
  • When a person contracts CMV while pregnant and passes it on to the foetus, this is known as congenital CMV.

Except when it affects an unborn child or a person with a weakened immune system, such as a recent transplant recipient or someone living with HIV, CMV is normally not an issue.

CMV infection can cause organ failure, eye damage, and blindness in HIV patients. In recent years, advances in antiviral treatment have lowered the risk.

Immunosuppressants are used by people who have had organ and bone marrow transplants to suppress their immune systems so that their bodies do not reject the new organs. In these people, dormant CMV can become active and cause organ damage.

Antiviral medications may be given to transplant recipients as a prophylactic against CMV.

The virus can be passed to the foetus by a pregnant woman. This is referred to as congenital CMV.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in every 200 newborns is born with the virus.

The majority of these babies will show no signs or symptoms, but about 20% will have symptoms or long-term health issues, such as learning challenges.

Vision and hearing loss, small head size, weakness, trouble using muscles, coordination issues, and seizures are all possible symptoms.

Diagnosis

A blood test can detect antibodies produced by the body as a result of the immune system’s response to the presence of CMV.

A pregnant woman faces a low risk of CMV reactivation affecting her unborn child. If a doctor suspects a pregnant woman has CMV, an amniocentesis may be recommended. To determine whether the virus is present, a sample of amniotic fluid is extracted.

The newborn will be tested within the first three weeks of life if the doctor suspects congenital CMV. Testing for congenital CMV after 3 weeks will not be definitive because the kid may have contracted the virus after birth.

Even if the virus is not active, anyone with a weaker immune system should get tested. Testing for vision and hearing issues will be done on a regular basis as part of the CMV complications monitoring.

Complications

CMV causes just a small percentage of healthy people to become very ill.

CMV mononucleosis, a condition in which too many white blood cells have a single nucleus, can occur in people with a weaker immune system.

Sore throat, swollen glands, swollen tonsils, fatigue, and nausea are some of the symptoms. It can cause hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, as well as spleen enlargement.

Mononucleosis induced by the CMV is comparable to mononucleosis caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). Glands fever is another name for EBV mononucleosis.

Other CMV problems include:

  • gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, colon inflammation, and blood in the feces
  • liver function problems
  • central nervous system (CNS) complications, such as encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain
  • pneumonitis, or inflammation of lung tissue.

Sources:

  • http://www.cdc.gov/cmv/index.html
  • https://www.nationalcmv.org/overview/outcomes
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/173811

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Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine

Safe and effective home treatments for kidney infection

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Kidney infections are caused by an overabundance of germs in the kidney. Another name for it is Pyelonephritis. Kidney infections can be serious enough to necessitate hospitalization, so home treatments are usually insufficient to treat them.

Because kidney infections have the greatest potential to harm the kidneys and spread to other parts of the body, they are often the most serious of all urinary tract infections (UTIs). Other UTIs can affect the bladder, ureters, or urethra, but they are less likely to cause harm.

Antibiotics are usually required to control the bacterial overgrowth that causes the condition. Home remedies, in addition to these, may aid in the body’s ability to remove the kidney infection as rapidly as feasible.

If someone feels they have a kidney infection, they should consult a doctor as soon as possible.

When to consult your doctor

If you experience any of the following signs of a possible kidney infection, you should consult a doctor immediately.

  • a fever of more than 103 ℉
  • In the urine, there is blood or pus, a thick white or yellow liquid.
  • they are unable to keep fluids down due to acute vomiting.

If a person has a history of kidney disease or stones, they should seek medical help right away to avoid further kidney damage.

The following are signs that a person should see their doctor as soon as possible if they suspect they have a kidney infection:

  • foul smelling urine
  • frequent urination
  • nausea
  • Is it safe to use home remedies?
  • a burning sensation when urinating
  • chills
  • flank pain, or pain in the sides or back

If a person’s symptoms worsen while taking medications to treat a UTI, they should seek medical attention. This could indicate that their infection has spread to their kidneys.

Is it safe to use home remedies?

It is not a good idea to treat kidney infections with only home treatments.

A person will need antibiotics to treat a kidney infection since it can cause severe symptoms and lead to kidney damage.

Home treatments, on the other hand, can help a person’s recovery and lower the chances of a recurrence of the kidney infection.

Before using any supplements as a home remedy, a person should see their doctor to ensure that they will not interact with any other prescriptions they are currently taking.

Symptom-relieving remedies

Drink plenty of water

Some home treatments and self-care practises that may help minimise kidney infection symptoms are as follows:

Drink plenty of water

When a person has a kidney infection, flushing bacteria from the kidneys is important. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, drinking at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day can assist.

If a person has kidney failure, their doctor may advise them to reduce the amount of fluid they drink.

Consume cranberry juice

Some specialists disagree with the premise of drinking cranberry juice to improve kidney health. However, some research suggests that cranberry juice may assist to reduce the quantity of bacteria in the body when a person has a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Mice with UTIs who drank cranberry juice had lower bacterial counts in their urinary tract, according to a 2018 study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

The researchers hypothesised that acids found in cranberry juice, such as malic, citric, and quinic acid, protect the urinary system.

Rest

While this cure may appear simple, it has advantages. After a kidney infection, getting lots of rest assists the body to mend.

Use warm, moist heat

Applying a heating pad or a warm water bottle to the area of flank pain might assist to relieve pain and relax irritated nerves.

To prevent the risk of burns, a person should always cover the burning object with a cloth. They should only use heat for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

Heating pads can be found in stores and on the internet.

Drink green tea or take green tea extract

Green tea extract may have an antimicrobial effect on common bacteria strains that cause UTIs, according to a 2013 study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

Green tea extracts were administered to bacterial cells in the lab by the researchers. They discovered that green tea suppressed bacterial development over time.

It’s difficult to say whether the outcomes would be the same in humans because the study was conducted in a lab with samples. Green tea may, however, provide health benefits when a person has a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Green tea extract can be found in stores.

Use non-aspirin pain medications instead of aspirin.

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help with a kidney infection’s fever and discomfort.

Aspirin is a blood thinner that might cause high blood levels in a person’s urine, therefore it’s better to avoid it.

If a person is unsure whether or not they can use an over-the-counter pain treatment, they should consult their physician.

Effectiveness

A kidney infection cannot be cured alone with home treatments.

If a person suspects they have a kidney infection, they should consult a doctor for an antibiotic prescription.

Treatments with medicine

In order to treat a kidney infection, doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics. If a person’s symptoms are severe, they may need to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics.

Even if they are feeling better, a person should always finish their antibiotic course. This may help to prevent the infection from returning.

If a person has recurrent kidney infections, a doctor may need to examine them further to determine the cause.

Some men, for example, may have an enlarged prostate, which can clog the urinary path and allow bacteria to grow more easily. Others may have a kidney stone that is preventing urine flow.

To address any underlying condition contributing to recurrent kidney infections, doctors may prescribe medications or suggest surgical procedures.

Sources:

  • https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2017.00542/full
  • http://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/kidney-problems/kidney-infection.html
  • https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2013.00162/full
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325887
  • https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/kidney-(renal)-infection-pyelonephritis

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Ear, Nose and Throat

Symptoms, treatment, and causes of ear infections

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Infections in the middle ear can be caused by viruses or bacteria. These frequently cause in pain, inflammation, and fluid accumulation.

Before they become three years old, almost 75% of youngsters will have had at least one ear infection. The most common reason for a child’s visit to the doctor is an ear infection.

Glue ear, secretory otitis media, middle ear infection, and serous otitis media are all terms for ear infections.

Infections of the ear are widely understood, and their frequent recurrence necessitates ongoing investigation. This article discusses the symptoms and causes of ear infections, as well as the treatment choices and diagnostic methods available.

What is it?

ear infections

A bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear is known as an ear infection. Inflammation and fluid buildup in the ear’s interior cavities are caused by this infection.

The middle ear is a space behind the eardrum that is filled with air. It has vibrating bones that translate sound from outside the ear into messages that the brain can understand.

Ear infections hurt because the swelling and accumulation of extra fluid puts pressure on the eardrum.

An ear infection can be acute or chronic. Chronic ear infections might harm the middle ear permanently.

Causes

An ear infection is frequently preceded by a cold, flu, or allergic reaction. These increase mucus in the sinuses, causing the eustachian tubes to discharge fluid slowly. The nasal passages, throat, and eustachian tubes will all be inflamed during the initial illness.

The role of eustachian tubes

The eustachian tubes run from the middle ear to the throat’s rear. These tubes’ ends open and reopen to control air pressure in the middle ear, restock air, and drain natural secretions.

The eustachian tubes can become blocked due to a respiratory infection or allergies, resulting in an accumulation of fluid in the middle ear. If this fluid becomes bacterially contaminated, infection may result.

Young children’s eustachian tubes are smaller and more horizontal than those of older children and adults. This implies that fluid is more likely to pool in the tubes instead of draining away, raising the risk of ear infection.

The role of adenoids

Adenoids are tissue pads found in the back of the nasal cavity. They respond to bacteria and viruses in the air and help the immune system function. The adenoids, on the other hand, can sometimes trap bacteria. The eustachian tubes and middle ear may get infected and inflamed as a result of this.

The adenoids are adjacent to the eustachian tube entrances and can cause the tubes to close if they expand. The adenoids in children are larger and more active than those in adults. Children are more likely to get ear infections as a result of these factors.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms in adults are simple. Adults with ear infections suffer from ear pain and pressure, as well as ear fluid and hearing loss. Children are exposed to a broader spectrum of symptoms. These are some of them:

  • ear pain, especially when lying down
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty hearing
  • fever
  • lack of appetite
  • headache
  • tugging or pulling at the ear
  • crying more than normal
  • loss of balance

Types

In general, there are three types of ear infections.

Acute otitis media (AOM)

The most common and least dangerous type of ear infection is AOM. The fluid beneath the eardrum gets infected and bloated, and the middle ear becomes infected and swollen. Fever is another possibility.

Otitis media with effusion (OME)

There may be some fluid behind the eardrum after an ear infection has cleared. Although a person with OME may not show symptoms, a doctor will be able to detect any lingering fluid.

Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME)

COME refers to fluid returning to the middle ear on a regular basis, whether or not an infection is present. This reduces your ability to fight other infections and has a detrimental influence on your hearing.

Diagnosis

Ear infection testing is a simple procedure, and a diagnosis can often be determined solely on the basis of symptoms.

To examine for fluid behind the eardrum, the doctor will usually use an otoscope, which is a light-attached tool.

A pneumatic otoscope is sometimes used by a doctor to check for infection. This device uses a puff of air to check for retained fluid in the ear. The eardrum will move less than normal if there is any fluid behind it.

If the doctor is unsure, he or she may perform further tests to confirm a middle ear infection.

Tympanometry

The doctor employs a device that shuts up the ear canal and changes the pressure inside it. The eardrum movement is measured by the instrument. This allows the doctor to determine the middle ear pressure.

Acoustic reflectometry

The eardrum is bouncing sound against the eardrum in this technique. The amount of sound that bounces back shows the level of fluid buildup. The bulk of sound is absorbed by a healthy ear, whereas an infected ear reflects more soundwaves.

Tympanocentesis

A clinician may employ tympanocentesis if an ear infection has not responded well to treatment. A small hole is made in the eardrum and a small amount of fluid is drained from the inner ear during this treatment. The infection’s cause can then be determined using this fluid.

Treatments

Antibiotic treatment is required for infants under the age of six months to help prevent the spread of infection. Amoxicillin is frequently used as an antibiotic.

Unless the kid shows signs of a severe infection, doctors usually recommend monitoring the child without antibiotics for children aged 6 months to 2 years.

Ear infections usually go away on their own, and the only prescription required is pain relief. Antibiotics are only used in circumstances that are more serious or last longer.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) advises patients to be on the lookout for:

  • children aged 6 to 23 months who have experienced mild inner ear pain in one ear for less than 48 hours and a temperature of less than 102.2° Fahrenheit (39° Celsius)
  • children aged 24 months and over with mild inner ear pain in one or both ears for less than 48 hours and a temperature of less than 102.2°F

Antibiotics are rarely recommended for children above the age of two. Antibiotic resistance develops as a result of overuse. Serious infections may become more difficult to treat as a result of this.

For persistent infections, the AAFP recommends acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or eardrops as pain relievers. These are useful for reducing fever and pain.

A warm compress, such as a towel, can help to relieve the pain in the affected ear.

If you have recurrent ear infections for several months or a year, your doctor may recommend a myringotomy. A surgeon creates a small cut in the eardrum to allow the build-up of fluid to be released.

To help air out the middle ear and prevent future fluid buildup, a very small myringotomy tube is implanted. These tubes are typically left in place for 6 to 12 months before falling out naturally rather than requiring manual removal.

Prevention

  • Ear infections are very frequent, particularly among children. This is linked to a developing immune system and variations in ear architecture. There is no surefire way to avoid infection, however there are a few things you can do to lower your chances:
  • Ear infections are less common in children who have been vaccinated. Inquire with your doctor about immunizations for meningitis, pneumococcal disease, and the flu.
  • Wash your hands, as well as your child’s, frequently. This can help your child avoid having colds and flu by preventing bacteria from spreading to them.
  • Second-hand smoking should never be exposed to a child. Ear infections are more common in infants who spend time with people who smoke.
  • If at all possible, breastfeed infants. This aids in the improvement of their resistance.
  • Feeding a newborn from a bottle while sitting up reduces the risk of milk going into the middle ear. When a baby is lying down, do not allow them to sip on a bottle.
  • Allow your child to play with ill children as little as possible, and limit their exposure to group care or big groups of children.
  • Antibiotics should only be used when needed. Ear infections are more common in children who have had an ear infection in the last three months, especially if antibiotics were used to treat it.

Ear infections are a common occurrence in most children’s lives. They can be unpleasant and debilitating, but if appropriately handled, they pose very few long-term issues.

Sources:

  • http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001480.pub4/abstract
  • http://www.aafp.org/afp/2013/1001/p435.html
  • http://cmr.asm.org/content/16/2/230.full
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/167409
  • http://www.aafp.org/patient-care/clinical-recommendations/all/otitis-media.html
  • https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/50th-anniversary/pdfs/fs_smoking_youth_508.pdf
  • https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/211068
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25156728

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