Treating Ear Infections in Adults

Treating ear infections in adults is similar to treating ear infections in children. Adults get fewer middle ear infections than children because they usually have wide Eustachian tubes that drain easily. However, adults who swim often are prone to outer ear infections if they do not use alcohol to dry out the ear canal after swimming. To get quick earache relief, follow these steps:

Identify What Kind of Ear Infection You Have
You'll need to figure out if you have an outer or middle ear infection. A middle ear infection is an infection behind your eardrum, deep inside your ear. A middle ear infection hurts more when you lie down or when you chew or swallow. An outer ear infection, which is also commonly called "swimmer's ear," is a bacterial infection of your outer ear. It will hurt more when you manipulate the outer parts of your ear, such as tugging on your ear or pressing on the knobby flesh just outside of your ear.

To Treat a Middle Ear Infection
See your doctor for antibiotics to treat a middle ear infection. Take an over-the-counter decongestant to relieve congestion in the ear and sinus passages. Take an over-the-counter analgesic such as ibuprofen to relieve immediate pain. Sleep sitting up in an easy chair so your Eustachian tubes have a better chance to drain. Use a warm, wet compress for immediate relief.

To Treat an Outer Ear Infection
See your doctor for a prescription for otic solution that will contain an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory. You will use this solution to put drops in your ear several times a day. Use an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain killer such as ibuprofen to relieve pain. Stay out of the water as much as possible, and use rubbing alcohol to dry up your ear, making the environment of the outer ear less conducive to breeding more bacteria. Cancel any swimming sessions and try to keep water out of your ear when showering or bathing.

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