The Difference Between Outer and Middle Ear Infections

The Difference Between Outer and Middle Ear Infections


Today I want to talk about the difference
of what’s called a swimmer’s ear or an external ear infection and a more typical middle ear
infection or what we often think of as just ear infections with little kids. So, swimmer’s ear or external ear infection
involves the space between the external ear, that opening, and the tympanic membrane or
the eardrum, along that canal itself. What happens with that is that canal which
is lined with skin starts getting really inflamed and infected. Kids can sometimes manifest it as having pain
when they chew or when they’re talking or classically they may have pain right here. The best way to treat that initially is to
use some topical ear drops which can get a concentrated antibiotic right to that source
right there. When it gets really bad then a pediatrician
will say why don’t we have you go and see ENT because there’s just no way for those
drops to get in, and at times we’ll go ahead and access the ear take a look at it, we even
have a couple of special instruments in our office to be able to take a look, and we can
do some more treatment there and then at that time and recommend a good course of treatment
afterwards. The more classic ear infection is what we
call a middle ear infection and that’s where pus and fluid builds up behind the eardrum,
or what we call the tympanic membrane. That typically occurs when we start to have
upper respiratory symptoms, a cough, a cold, lots of snotty nose, and at that point as
symptoms continue to get worse many parents will go see either their pediatrician or they’ll
go see urgent care. There your health care provider will take
a look at the ears and look for if there’s a red, pussed out, bulging eardrum, which
is the classic signs for having an ear infection and at that time may prescribe
an oral antibiotic. Ear infections are very common, so if you
have concerns if your child has an ear infection, be it an external ear infection or a middle
ear infection, give us a call, come on in and we’ll be happy to take care of them.

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