Ear Infections

Ear Infections

Introduction

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Ear infections are common, especially among babies and children. They usually clear up on their own within a few days, so treatment may not be necessary. However, if you are prone to chronic ear infections or you suffer from debilitating symptoms, you may need quick relief treatment like Otomize ear spray. Ear infections can be treated at home, and your pharmacist can also provide medication to treat them.

With Cloud Pharmacy’s UK-registered service, you can complete an online assessment reviewed by our UK-qualified prescribers for ear infection treatment and have the medication sent directly to your door.

Our service is to treat outer ear infections also known as swimmer's ear. For middle or inner ear infections, you may need to consult a doctor in person for a physical ear examination. You can read more about the treatment options below.

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Once an online consultation has been been approved by our medical team, our pharmacy will safely prepare and ship your treatment to you in discreet packaging using Royal Mail or DPD.

What Is An Ear Infection?

An ear infection (also known as acute otitis media) is an infection that occurs within the middle of the ear - which is the part of the ear behind the eardrum - but can also affect the inner and outer ear.

Acute ear infections are short, but often painful and are caused by a build-up of fluid or inflammation. Whereas chronic ear infections take longer to clear up and reoccur more often. A chronic ear infection could potentially cause damage to your ears such as hearing problems and other serious complications.

What Causes Ear Infections?

Ear infections are either viral or bacterial; being caused by either viruses or bacteria. The infection typically occurs when fluid builds up in your Eustachian tubes – the small tubes that run from the ears to the back of the throat – resulting in a blockage. This blockage can be caused by:

  • Colds
  • Allergies
  • Excess mucus
  • Sinus infections
  • Air pressure changes
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke

An ear infection may also be caused by the glands on the roof of your mouth (adenoids) becoming infected.

Children and babies are at more risk of ear infections due to their short, narrow Eustachian tubes. Young children have an increased risk of an ear infection if they:

  • Use a dummy (pacifier)
  • Have a low birth weight
  • Are in daycare
  • Have limited healthcare access
  • Are male

Ear Infection Symptoms

Ear infection symptoms usually begin quickly. They can include:

  • Ear pain
  • High temperature
  • Sickness
  • Fatigue
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Hearing difficulty
  • Irritation inside or around the ear
  • Itching inside or around the ear
  • A feeling of pressure in the ear
  • Scaly skin in or around the ear

If your child has an ear infection, you may notice that they:

  • Are pulling or rubbing their ear
  • Are restless or irritable
  • Don’t react to some noises
  • Have problems with their balance
  • Have a lack of appetite

Types of Ear Infections

  • Acute otitis media (AOM): is the most common form of ear infection, and the least serious. It involves the infection and inflammation of the middle ear and fluid build-up behind the eardrum. Fever is a symptom commonly associated with AOM.
  • Otitis media with effusion (OME): refers to the build-up of non-infected fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear, which can occur after an ear infection, cold, or upper respiratory infection. If you have OME, you may not feel any symptoms, but there will be fluid build-up in your middle ear space.
  • Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME): when fluid returns to the middle ear repeatedly, regardless of whether there is an infection. COME is a chronic condition that can impact your hearing and reduce your ability to fight other infections.

Are Ear Infections Contagious?

Ear infections are not contagious. They can’t spread from one person to another. However, causes of ear infections – both bacterial and viral – can be spread by people. Ear infections are often the result of illnesses like colds and flu – these infections are contagious and can be transmitted by droplets through talking, coughing or sneezing, or touching surfaces.

How Long Does an Ear Infection Last?

Most ear infections will clear up within three days. However, you may feel symptoms for up to a week. During this time, if you are not well enough to go about daily activities, you should stay at home until you feel better, avoiding contact with others.

If your ear infection symptoms show no signs of improvement after three days, you should seek medical help.

Why Do I Keep Getting Ear Infections?

If your ear infection keeps coming back, you have a chronic ear infection, also known as a recurring ear infection. Chronic ear infections are long-lasting infections. There are several forms of chronic ear infection, including:

  • Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME), when there is fluid build-up in the ear for an extended period.
  • Chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM), when there is recurring ear discharge.

If you have a chronic ear infection, or you leave an acute ear infection untreated, you could develop complications such as:

  • Mastoiditis, an uncommon condition that causes symptoms such as fever.
  • Inflammation behind the ear and redness.
  • Cholesteatoma, an abnormal growth of skin cells inside your ear.

If you or your child have:

  • Down syndrome
  • Had an upper respiratory tract infection recently
  • A family history of ear infections
  • A cleft palate

You may be more prone to a chronic ear infection. If your child attends a busy daycare centre, there may also be a higher risk of picking up an ear infection, due to exposure to more bacteria and viruses.

How to Prevent an Ear Infection

There are several ways of preventing you or your child from getting ear infections in the future, including:

  • Avoiding smoking or smoke exposure
  • Wearing a swimming hat or using earplugs when swimming
  • Keeping up with your allergy medications and avoiding allergy triggers
  • Ensuring that you and your child are up to date with vaccinations
  • Not giving your child a dummy when they are older than 6 months
  • Avoiding contact with people who have colds, flu or upper respiratory problems

Ear Infection Treatment

There are ways to treat ear infections at home. Here are some tips:

  • Use painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve symptoms
  • If there is discharge, use cotton wool to remove it from your ear
  • Soothe your ear by placing a warm or cold flannel against it

If these home treatments aren’t working you will need effective ear infection medication, like Otomize Ear Spray. When an ear infection hasn’t cleared up, your doctor may prescribe Otomize. It is an antibiotic spray that can help with chronic ear infections and relieve painful symptoms straight away by treating them at the source. This treatment for external ear infections has three active ingredients - neomycin, acetic acid, and dexamethasone – and should be taken within 24 hours of feeling symptoms. Depending on the type of external ear infection, steroid eardrops, antifungal eardrop or antibiotic tablets may also be prescribed.

For middle or inner ear infections, antibiotics are not typically offered unless an infection hasn’t cleared up on its own. You may be prescribed antibiotics if:

  • Symptoms haven’t improved in under three days
  • There is discharge
  • You or your child has an increased risk of complications due to a medical condition such as cystic fibrosis

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Pricing and quantity options

Otomize Ear Spray

Strength
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Quantities 5ml
5ml £14.99

EarCalm Spray

Strength
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Quantities 0
1 Spray £10.99
2 Sprays £19.98