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...
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...
Dr. I have throat pain, hoarseness and an earache that won't go away. I do suffer from heartburn. Can the throat and ear pain be a result of GERD?
While it is not uncommon for gastroesophageal reflux disease to cause sore throat and hoarseness as well as ear pain and even ear infections, other more serious conditions need to be excluded. You can try maximizing treatment of acid reflux with twice a day proton pump inhibitors. If your symptoms resolve completely, then it is likely a result of gastroesophageal reflux. If however, they persist, then evaluation with an ear nose and throat physician to rule out throat cancer is recommended.
I have been taking Aciphex for acid reflux and have developed severe headaches. Can I try other proton pump inhibitors?
All of the proton pump inhibitors (Aciphex, Prevacid, Protonix, Nexium, Prilosec, Zegerid and Omeprazole) have about a 5% incidence of causing headaches. If one of the drugs causes headaches, it doesn't mean that th...
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