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Ruptured Eardrum:Infected [Adult]

You have an infection of the middle ear (the space behind the eardrum). It can occur as a result of the common cold. This is because congestion can block the internal passage that drains fluid from the middle ear. When the middle ear fills with fluid, bacteria can grow there, causing an infection.

If the pressure of air and fluid in the middle ear becomes too high, the eardrum can rupture. Pus or blood will drain out of the ear canal and hearing will decrease.

Antibiotics are used to treat this illness. Once the infection is treated the eardrum usually heals completely. Sometimes there is delayed or incomplete healing or continued hearing loss. It is important to have a follow-up exam with an Ear, Nose & Throat doctor.

Home Care:

  1. Take all antibiotics until they are gone, even though you may feel better after the first few days.

  2. You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. [NOTE: If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.] (Aspirin should never be used in anyone under 18 years of age who is ill with a fever. It may cause severe liver damage.)

  3. Do not let any water get into your ear. Do not apply ear drops into the ear canal unless advised by your doctor.

  4. Keep a clean cotton plug loosely in the ear canal to absorb drainage. Change the cotton often to keep it clean.

Follow Up

with your doctor within the next two weeks or as directed by our staff to ensure that the infection is clearing and the eardrum is healing. A hearing test should be done after the eardrum has healed to be sure your hearing has returned to normal

Get Prompt Medical Attention if Any of the Following Occur:

  • Ear pain or fever gets worse or shows no improvement after three days of antibiotic treatment

  • Fever over 100.5ºF (38.0ºC) after three days of antibiotic treatment

  • Unusual drowsiness or confusion

  • Headache, neck pain or a stiff neck

  • Convulsions (seizure)

 

 
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