5 Signs You May Have an Ear Infection And What to Do About It

So how do you know if you have an ear infection? Take note if you have one or more of the following over a sustained period of time.More

5 Signs You May Have an Ear Infection And What to Do About It

Written By Dr. Pauline Dinnauer / Reviewed By Ray Spotts

Ear infections, also known as acute otitis media (AOM), are invisible dangers associated mostly with children. Eight-point-seven million children per year are diagnosed with ear infections, which account for almost $3 billion in annual health care expenses, according to the research journal Laryngoscope.

Adult ear infections

But children are only half the story. Adults also suffer from middle ear infections, which physicians say happens when the Eustachian tube, tasked with keeping the middle ear clean, gets blocked.

When that happens, ventilation through the ear is clogged and that space becomes susceptible to germs and other parasites. Inner ear infections, on the other hand, occur when the inner ear, which controls the balance, is swollen due to a bacterial infection or a respiratory illness.

Among adults, men are most likely to get ear infections, especially those who are genetically disposed to the malady, or those who already have poor immune systems or chronic respiratory disease. Smoking, or living with smokers, doesn’t help either.

Ear infection signs

So how do you know if you have an ear infection? Take note if you have one or more of the following over a sustained period of time:

  • Severe earache. This will be more pronounced than your average earache. In fact, what you’ll feel is a dull throbbing that builds over time.
  • Dizziness, nausea, or vomiting. This is your body physically reacting to the pain.
  • Slow drainage from the ear. Make note that the drainage is coming from the ear that is in pain.
  • Dulled or muted hearing. Again, this will be especially true of the ear that is producing the pain.
  • Sharp pain plus drainage. This symptom comes out of nowhere, is a stabbing pain, and is immediately followed by drainage.

Children’s ear infections

Symptoms for children suffering from ear infections are more extensive, according to WebMD. They include poor sleep, fever, irritability, tugging at the ear, ear drainage, loss of appetite, and crying when lying down.

Length of ear infection

The length of the ear infection determines its severity. Typically, ear infections last about two weeks with no lasting damage to your ear or significant hearing loss. However, some ear infections can last much longer - some, up to six weeks.

Ear infection symptoms

Finally, it is important to act on ear infection symptoms because they could be the cause of something far riskier to your health: meningitis.

Meningitis is a condition when membranes covering the brain and spinal cord get infected and then become inflamed. Sudden nausea and vomiting, headaches, or fevers are common symptoms for meningitis as is inner ear trouble.

For these reasons, it is important that anyone experiencing symptoms related to the ear see a physician or ear specialist right away.

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Written By:

Dr. Pauline Dinnauer, AuD is the Vice President of Audiological Care at Connect Hearing, which provides industry-leading hearing loss, hearing testing and hearing aid consultation across the U.S.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed , a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at .

Photo by Hayes Potter on Unsplash

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Learning to live well with a persistent illness

Having a persistent illness is challenging. It means having to make changes and adjustments to accommodate your needs, but it does not have to mean giving up on everything you enjoy. The post Learning to live well with a persistent illness appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

Learning to live well with a persistent illness

When we get an acute illness like the flu or a cold, we feel sick for a week or two and then get back to our usual lives. This is how illness is “supposed” to go. But what happens when illness doesn’t fit this bill? What do patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or multiple sclerosis, or with persistent symptoms of Lyme disease or long-haul COVID-19, do when they can’t go back to their normal lives? Having suffered from the latter two — tick-borne illnesses that have plagued me for two decades, and a case of COVID-19 that took four months to shake — I’ve learned a few lessons about living with persistent illness.

Reframe your mindset

The most important — and hardest — lesson I’ve learned is that with debilitating, persistent conditions, there is no going back. I got sick at age 25. I had been working full-time, living an incredibly active lifestyle, burning the candle at both ends. Suddenly, the candle was gone. Bedridden through years of intense treatment, all I could talk about was getting back on track. I even threw a big “back to life” party when I finally achieved remission. Then I went right back to the high-functioning lifestyle I’d always known.

Three months later, I relapsed completely. It took another couple of years of treatment to get well enough to attend graduate school, socialize, exercise, and work. The journey wasn’t linear. I had to pace myself to have more good days than bad. I realized I couldn’t just wipe my hands of my illnesses. These persistent infections were coming with me, and not only did I have to accept them, I had to learn to move forward with them in a way that honored my needs but didn’t let them run my life.

Recognize your needs

Our bodies are good at telling us what they need: food, sleep, down time. We’re not always good at listening to these messages, however, because we live busy lives and sometimes can’t or don’t want to make time to take care of ourselves. When you have a persistent illness, ignoring your body’s needs becomes harder, if not impossible, and the consequences are more severe.

I’ve learned that I have to pace myself physically and neurologically, stopping activity before I get tired so my symptoms don’t flare. I have to rest in the early afternoon. I must stick to a particular diet, stay on low-dose medications, and do regular adjunct therapies in order to maintain my health. Now, after recovering from COVID-19, I also need to be conscious of residual lung inflammation.

At first, I saw these needs as limitations. They take up time and energy and prevent me from living a normal life. But when I reframed my thinking, I realized that I’ve simply created a new normal that works in the context of my illnesses. Everyone, sick or healthy, has needs. Acknowledging and respecting them can be frustrating in the short term, but allows us to live better in the long term.

Think outside the box

Once you figure out how to best meet your needs, you can plan other parts of your life accordingly. Your health must come first, but it isn’t the only important aspect of your life, even when you have a persistent, debilitating illness.

I had to shift my thinking from feeling anxious and embarrassed by what I couldn’t do, to optimizing what I can. I can’t work a traditional 9-to-5 job anymore, but I can write and teach on a more flexible schedule. I can’t go for an all-day hike (and might not want to anyway, due to ticks!), but I can enjoy a morning of kayaking. What skills do you have to offer, and what innovative opportunities might put them to good use? What activities do you miss, and how can you do them in an adaptive way? If that’s not possible, what’s a new activity you could explore?

Hope for the future, but live in the present

Learning to live well with a persistent illness does not mean resigning yourself to it. I’m able to do more each year, even though I sometimes have short setbacks. I change medications. I try new therapies. I manage my illnesses as they are now, but I haven’t given up hope for a cure, and am always striving to find ways to make my life even better. I can’t control what my illnesses do, but I can control how I handle them. And that makes life a little brighter.

Follow me on Twitter @writerjcrystal.

The post Learning to live well with a persistent illness appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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