Q:

How do you treat sinus and inner ear infections?

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Quick Answer

Doctors use prescription and over-the-counter medications to treat sinus and ear infections, according to WebMD. Doctors prescribe antibiotics, including amoxicillin, trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole and azithromycin, to treat bacterial ear infections. They treat sinus infections with antibiotics if the symptoms last more than 10 days.

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If a virus causes an ear infection, the focus is on symptom relief, explains WebMD. Doctors may recommend over-the-counter medications containing ibuprofen and acetaminophen because the medications act as both pain relievers and fever reducers. Children should avoid using aspirin because of the potential for Reye's syndrome. A heating pad may also help relieve symptoms. Ear drops for pain relief are available over-the-counter and by prescription, notes Healthline.

A doctor may recommend a myringotomy for children with recurrent inner ear infections, explains Mayo Clinic. During a myringotomy, the surgeon drains fluids from the middle ear via a tiny hole made in the eardrum. He then inserts a temporary tube into the hole, where it remains until it falls out or the doctor surgically removes it six months or more later.

Over-the-counter nasal saline solutions and decongestant medications treat symptoms of sinus infection, advises WebMD. Hot showers and other sources of hot steam loosen mucous and may open stuffed nasal passages. Individuals with sustained symptoms that do not respond to over-the-counter medications should consult a doctor.

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