Here at Portland Urgent Care, as well as with our MobilMED services, we treat a lot of ear infections. And many of the patients suffering from ear infections are little ones — infants and young children. In fact, nearly half of all the antibiotic prescriptions in the U.S. are written for babies and children with middle-ear infections (or otitis media).
While older children and adults also suffer from earaches and ear infections, children and infants are often the most vulnerable group due in part to their immature anatomy. In these young patients, the Eustachian tube leading from the ear to the throat is often soft and fails to remain open. This blocks and prohibits adequate air ventilation that’s necessary to keep the ear dry and clear of drainage and blockages. Thus, it becomes a breeding ground for germs and infections.
When Portland Urgent Care/MobilMED treats a child with a possible ear infection, the first thing we’ll do is look into the ear in order to examine the eardrum itself. If it’s red or inflamed, and especially if it’s coupled with a fever and obvious signs of pain and discomfort, chances are is an ear infection.
There are several things that can cause ear infections: allergies; exposure to environmental toxins, such as smoke or fumes; or bacteria. It’s not at all unusual to see these bacterial organisms emerge immediately following an allergic reaction or an upper respiratory infection. In fact, upper respiratory infections, including colds and flu, are the most common cause of ear infections.
While ear infections may go away on their own, we may prescribe antibiotics for children under the age of 2 as well as those youngsters with a risk of serious complications.
Contact Portland Urgent Care/MobilMED if you have any questions or concerns about this or any other medical topic.