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About Ear infection

An ear infection - also known as otitis media - is an infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is an air-filled cavity that sits behind the eardrum and is responsible for transmitting sound from the outer ear to the inner ear.

While some ear infections will go away on their own, medical attention may be needed. You should see a doctor if symptoms persist for longer than 48 hours, the ear pain is severe, you or your child experiences a fever over 102.2 F, if the child experiencing symptoms is less than 6 months old, or if you notice any discharge coming from the ear. Children who suffer from recurring infections or persistent fluid in the middle ear should receive regular checkups to avoid any damage to their hearing or other complications.

Symptoms of an Ear Infection

Ear infections will usually begin to cause symptoms shortly after infection. Common symptoms of a middle ear infection in children include:

  • Ear pain/ ear ache
  • Fever
  • Hearing loss
  • Fluid drainage
  • Headache

Young children (between 1-3 years old) may experience additional symptoms such as:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fussiness
  • Loss of appetite

Although it is rare, adults may also experience ear infections. Symptoms in adults include:

  • Ear pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Fluid drainage

Ear Infection Causes

Ear infections are caused by bacteria and viruses finding their way into the middle ear. These infections are often secondary infections, after a common cold, flu, or sinus infection causes swelling in the nasal passages and the eustachian tubes - tubes that run from the middle ear to the back of the throat that regulates and refresh the air in the middle ear.

When the nasal passages or eustachian tubes become swollen, fluid may become trapped in the middle ear. This fluid buildup in the ear canal can become infected and, in turn, infect the inner ear.

Ear Infection Risk Factors

There are several factors that may increase your or your child’s likelihood of developing an ear infection. These conditions include:

  • Age: Young children are at greater risk of ear infections due to the ongoing development of their eustachian tubes and weakened immune system.
  • Feeding: Babies who are fed via a bottle while lying down - as opposed to breastfeeding - are at an increased risk of developing an ear infection.
  • Child care: Children who attend daycare or group care are at an increased risk of developing respiratory infections, sore throats, and ear infections.
  • Air quality: Environmental factors such as allergens in the air (like pollen, mold, or pet dander), smog, secondhand smoke, and other irritants can increase your risk of ear infections, as they can also lead to the inflammation of your sinus cavity and nasal passages.
  • Cleft palate: Children born with a cleft palate may also have muscular and skeletal differences that make it difficult for the eustachian tubes to drain. This can lead to frequent fluid buildup and frequent ear infections.

Medical Disclaimer: Sesame maintains strict sourcing and accuracy standards. This information on Sesame has been reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or a qualified health care professional. The information on this site, or any linked materials, is not intended to serve as medical advice, nor is the information a replacement for expert medical advice rendered by a qualified doctor or health care professional.

Treatment Options

Some ear infections clear up on their own and do not require medication. To relieve discomfort, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil & Motrin IB). If your symptoms are severe or persistent, antibiotics may be prescribed to help clear up the infection.

Doctors often recommend the following treatment options for an ear infection. Note that you should always defer to the treatment plan your doctor recommends.
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Sesame FAQs

Frequently asked questions about ear infection treatment on Sesame

Sesame offers convenient and affordable online doctor visits for ear infections with licensed health providers across the country. If you or your child are experiencing the signs and symptoms of an ear infection, book a visit right away for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Online doctor visits can be conducted in the comfort and privacy of your own home. During your visit, you will be asked about your symptoms and medical history.

If your doctor determines that you are experiencing an ear infection, they will discuss a treatment plan with you. Ear infections often clear up on their own and do not require medication. To relieve discomfort, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil & Motrin IB). If your symptoms are severe or persistent, antibiotics may be prescribed to help clear up the infection. Different types of ear infection treatment are detailed below.

While many ear infections will go away on their own, persistent or severe infections may require medication. Sesame makes it easier than ever to get a new prescription or refill a prescription from the comfort of your own home! To discuss a new online prescription or refill, book a video visit with a doctor or nurse on Sesame to discuss a new online prescription or refill. Clinicians on Sesame can prescribe drugs that help treat ear infections.

Note that providers on Sesame cannot prescribe controlled substances.

Book a video visit on based on the health care you need, and pick up a new prescription or existing prescription refill at a pharmacy of your choice. Browse services on Sesame, set up an appointment with a real doctor at your convenience, and get the care you need.

Sesame offers online prescription and refill services at affordable prices, starting at just $34. If a new prescription is determined necessary by a provider, clinicians on Sesame can prescribe medication that helps treat blood pressure, infections, allergies, cholesterol problems, thyroid conditions, and more!

Booking an appointment with a doctor or nurse online is typically the fastest way to get a prescription! Sesame offers same-day online doctor prescription and prescription refill appointments with board-certified healthcare professionals. If deemed clinically necessary, Sesame providers can provide prescriptions and prescription refills for most non-controlled substances. They can also provide you with a doctor’s note if necessary.

Most online prescription and prescription refill appointments take around 15 minutes, and providers are able to send a prescription to a pharmacy of your choice right after your appointment.

Yep! If you request a prescription transfer, you can easily move your prescription from one pharmacy to another. Plus, many pharmacies now offer mail services for home delivery. Here's how to request a prescription refill at a different pharmacy:

1) Call your new preferred pharmacy to request a transfer.

2) Provide that pharmacy with health insurance/ prescription info

3) Wait for the prescription to be transferred before you pick it up. It usually takes pharmacies a few days to transfer a prescription, but you will get a notification once this step has been completed. Either go pick up your prescription in person or set up home delivery.

If you need a prescription refill, book a visit with a real, quality doctor on Sesame today. Doctors on Sesame can refill prescriptions for high blood pressure, birth control, allergies, and more! Save up to 60% on your prescription refill visit when you book with Sesame.

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