Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. While there are different types of ear infections, the most common is called otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum.
The term "acute" refers to a short and painful episode. An ear infection that lasts a long time or comes and goes is called chronic otitis media .
For links to other types of ear infections, see otitis.
Otitis media - acute; Infection - inner ear; Middle ear infection - acute
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
For each ear, a eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat. This tube drains fluid that is normally made in the middle ear. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up. When this happens, germs such as bacteria and viruses can multiply and cause an infection.
Ear infections are co...
Home Remedies Careful monitoring of the child's condition (watchful waiting) along with home remedies may be a viable alternative to antibiotic treatment for many children with a first episode of acute otitis media. However, in some situations parents should contact their medical professional immediately: Seek immediate medical attention for high fever, severe pain, or other signs of complications. Parents of infants should contact their doctor immediately if they have any fever, regardless other symptoms. Natural Remedies for Ear Aches Before antibiotics, parents used home remedies to treat the pain of ear infections. Now, with current concern over antibiotic overuse, many of these remedies are again popular. Parents can press a warm water bottle or warm bag of salt against the ear. Such old-fashioned remedies may help to ease ear pain. Due to the high risk of burns, ear candles should not be used to remove wax from ears. These candles are not safe or effective for treatment of AOM or other...
An ear drainage culture is a laboratory test to check for infection-causing substances in a sample of fluid, pus, wax, or blood from the ear.
See also: Ear drainage
Culture - ear drainage
How the test is performed
A sample of ear drainage is needed. Your health care provider will use a cotton swab to collect the sample from inside the outer ear canal. In some cases, a sample is collected from the middle ear during ear surgery.
The sample is sent to a laboratory and placed on a special dish (culture media).
The lab team checks the dish every day to see if bacteria, fungi, or viruses have grown. Further tests may be done to specifically identify any substances and determine the best treatment.
How to prepare for the test
No preparation is needed for a lab culture.
How the test will feel
No pain is associated with using a cotton swab to take a sample of drainage from the outer ear. However, ear pai...
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