Otitis Media: Urgent Care Interventions

Otitis media, also known as a middle ear infection or middle ear inflammation, is more common in children, however, it often occurs in adults. It can be caused by viral and bacterial infections as well as eustachian tube dysfunction, which can lead to fluid buildup behind the eardrum. Symptoms of otitis media may include earache, fever, balance problems, hearing loss, and ear drainage. If you develop otitis media and develop severe pain, loss of hearing, or high fever, seek urgent care services for the following interventions.

Otoscopic Examination

After your vital signs have been checked to help ensure that you are in stable condition, the urgent care services provider will perform a thorough otoscopic examination of your ears. They will assess the middle and inner ears to see if the eardrums are inflamed and to check if you have pus, blood, or other types of fluid in your ears. They will also examine your ears for the presence of a foreign body to make sure that you do not have an object inside your ear that could be linked to your symptoms. After the otoscopic examination has been completed, the physician will recommend the appropriate treatment option. 

Pain Relief And Antibiotics

To relieve your symptoms and pain, the urgent care services provider may prescribe analgesic eardrops such as those containing antipyrine and benzocaine. If the healthcare provider determines that your otitis media is the result of a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. In addition, if your otoscopic examination revealed the presence of a foreign object inside your ear that is causing your symptoms, the urgent care staff member will attempt to remove it with special tweezers or forceps.

Before the object is removed, the healthcare provider may put a numbing drop into your ear to anesthetize the area so that you do not feel any discomfort. If the object inside your ear is too deep or otherwise difficult to remove with tweezers or forceps, the physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant may attempt to irrigate the ear with carbamide peroxide or saline solution to help flush it out. 

If you develop any of the above symptoms of otitis media, visit your primary care physician or an urgent care center. When otitis media or other types of ear infections are recognized and treated as soon as possible, you may be less likely to develop complications such as permanent hearing loss, a secondary infection, or a ruptured eardrum.