If you think you or someone in your family has an ear infection you may be wondering how to spot it. So what does an ear infection look like? In many cases there may not be very much to see without a doctor's otoscope. Sometimes the outer part of the ear becomes red and there may be flakiness in the ear canal. In the case of a middle ear infection there may be nothing to see at all from the outside. If the eardrum bursts, which can be very painful, pus may discharge from the ear.
Outer ear infection is also called otitis externa. It can be sore and itchy. Occasionally discharge may occur with this as well. Sometimes severe redness may spread out from the area of infection. This may be cellulitis which is infection of the deep tissue of the skin. Antibiotics are required for this.
When a doctor looks in your ear with an otoscope they will get more information. The ear canal can be seen as well as the eardrum. Cardinal signs of a middle ear infection are bulging and redness of the drum as well as fluid behind it. People often complain of a feeling of fullness, pain, reduced hearing and discharge from the ear. If the drum bursts this can be severely painful at the time but is relieved afterwards. Pus and blood may gush from the ear.
Outer ear infections, otitis externa, may be prevented with a pair of our molded earplugs from http://zenplugs.com/molded-earplugs/ if it is caused by sea water or soap getting in your ears. Wearing them can keep water and germs out, particularly as they are antibacterial.
When the drum perforates it ventilates the middle ear space. This dries it up and kills the germs. Antibiotics may not be required at this stage. Despite this, an ear examination is important. This is to make sure there are no other signs of infection which need treating.
If you may have an ear problem it is important that you visit your doctor. Don't leave it untreated. This article is not to be considered as medical advice.
Dr Toby Bateson for ZenPlugs