Latest Catalogue Earache

Earache

DEFINITION

Earache is a pain that is experienced in and around the ear. This pain may be due to a number of different causes. See the topics Otitis Media and Otitis Externa.


DESCRIPTION

Earache may be caused by infection or a tumour or it may be a referred pain from another disease elsewhere in the body e.g., the pain of a toothache may also be felt in the ear. As the middle ear is so closely connected with the nose and the throat, infections such as colds, influenza or tonsillitis often spread to the ear. Patients who experience earache or pain, discharge or vertigo or have a raised temperature in association with any one these problems should see a general practitioner. Anyone with diabetes who experiences ear problems should seek the advice of a diabetic specialist.

Infections can be treated very effectively with antibiotics, though if left untreated, can spread to the facial bones and in serious cases to the brain. Inflammation of the sinuses can also be a cause of Earache. Mild inflammation of the external ear canal can produce severe pain. If the Eustachian tube is obstructed due to changes in air pressure, infection or mucus, severe pain may be experienced in the ear. Sometimes Earache may be due to damage to facial nerves.

The most common cause of Earache in children is infection in the ear. This can cause a child great distress. Crying babies may tend to pull or rub their ears when they are experiencing Earache. If a child has an Earache first look in the ear with a torch to see if there is a pea or part of a toy or something similar lodged in it. If you can remove it easily it may solve the problem. Never poke or probe in the ear as it is very vulnerable to damage. Take the child to a Doctor as soon as possible.


TREATMENT OPTIONS

As with all conditions your Doctor should be consulted. Your Doctor will diagnose this condition. Ask your Doctor about the latest advice on this ailment. Treatment for Earache involves identifying the cause of the pain and providing the appropriate therapy for the condition.


DIET HINTS

- It is important to have a well rounded, nutritious diet at all times to help the natural immune system of the body. A healthy diet includes carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals), protein (lean meat, fish, eggs and dairy products) and fats and oils (butter, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils).
- The diet should focus on raw, fresh foods, in particular fruits, vegetables and Wholegrain cereals.
- Foods to be avoided or kept to a minimum include fatty or processed meats, deep fried foods, cakes, biscuits, sweets, soft drinks, ice cream, chocolate, butter, margarine, cream, tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages.
- Do not eat any foods after their expiry date or if the food does not look or taste fresh. These foods provide very little nutritional benefit to the body and in many cases may be detrimental to your health.
- Include 6 - 8 glasses of filtered water each day to help prevent dehydration and constipation.
- Try to include foods rich in zinc, such as oysters, pumpkin seeds and lean red meat regularly. Zinc may be useful in promoting the immune system to help the body fight infections.


PHARMACIST'S ADVICE

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
1) Patients with Earache should see a Doctor for a correct diagnosis.
2) It is particularly important that a patient with diabetes see their Doctor as soon as possible if they are suffering from Earache.
3) If antibiotics have been prescribed, always take the whole course of medication. Do not discontinue treatment if symptoms stop. Not finishing a course of antibiotics can lead to an overgrowth or drug-resistant strains of bacteria.
4) Do not push anything in the ear canal, not even cotton buds. See your Doctor if the ears need cleaning.
5) Your Pharmacist might suggest some pain relieving ear drops and pain relieving medication, but remember to see a Doctor if pain persists.
6) Products which can be used to help dry up any excess water in the ear should not be used if there is any inflammation present.
7) Do not use ear drops if intending to see a Doctor as they can distort and obscure visual examination.
8) Show caution when using some cotton applicators as sometimes the cotton bulbs can detach and lodge in the ear.
9) Nutritional supplements may be of some benefit if the diet is inadequate. Garlic is thought to have antibacterial activity in the body. Garlic can be included in the diet and it is also available in supplement form.