The Best Antibiotics For Ear Infections The Best Antibiotics For Ear Infections

The Best Antibiotics For Ear Infections


It is widespread for children to get ear infections, which can also affect adults. Most ear infections resolve on their own within a few days without treatment. Antibiotics may be necessary and effective when an ear infection is severe or doesn't heal.

Children and adults can suffer from various ear infections, which will be discussed in this article. The next section will discuss the possible side effects of antibiotics used to treat ear infections.

Last, I'll explain other treatment options, prevention, and when you should see your doctor.


What Causes Ear Infections?

The human ear comprises three outer, middle, and inner structures. The outer ear's components are the auditory canal, the tympanic membrane (ear drum), and the outer structure.

Vibrations are transferred from the eardrum to the inner ear through three tiny bones in an air-filled cavity. Located inside the temporal bone, the inner ear contains membranes and a solution responsible for transmitting sounds.

Ear infections fall into three categories:

Acute otitis media: A middle ear infection

Otitis media with effusion: Middle ear infection caused by an accumulation of fluid

Swimmer’s ear: The outer ear canal is infected

Bacteria or viruses cause ear infections. Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza are the most common bacteria that cause ear infections. Common cold viruses can cause ear infections.

There are several symptoms, including:

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Ear pain

  • Fever

  • Rubbing or tugging at the ear

  • Irritability or fussiness


Antibiotics for Ear Infections

An ear infection can be diagnosed by asking about symptoms and examining the patient. An ear infection can usually be treated without medical treatment, and antibiotics are not always required.

However, infections affecting the middle ear that last more than two or three days require prompt treatment with antibiotics.

Here are some of the best antibiotics for ear infections:


Antibiotic ear drops

A recurrent bacterial ear infection can be treated with antibiotic ear drops (also known as topical antibiotics). Topical medications deliver the medication directly to the infected site without causing side effects.


There are several types of topical antibiotics, including:

  • The prescription medication Cortisporin treats bacterial ear infections and decreases ear inflammation. When dropped into the ear, most people experience stinging or burning.

  • Ciprodex is a prescription otic suspension for treating bacterial middle or outer ear infections. As well as reducing inflammation, it helps relieve pain. Two times a day for seven days is usually the recommended dosage. Itching, pain, and stinging are the most common side effects.

  • An otic of ofloxacin is prescribed to treat ear infections caused by bacteria. Conditions that result in burst ear drums can be treated with this product. An unpleasant taste in the mouth, itching, and pain are common side effects.

  • Swimmer's ear can be treated with Xtoro, a prescription otic suspension. Itching, pain, and skin irritation are the most common side effects.

  • The otic solution Cetralix is prescribed for the swimmer's ear. Children undergoing ear tube surgery can also use it to treat inner ear infections. Itching, pain, sore throat, and stuffy nose are some of the most common side effects.


How to administer antibacterial ear drops.

Antibiotic ear drops should only be used on the ears, not the eyes. Even if your symptoms improve, take the prescribed amount to prevent recurrences.


To correctly administer ear drops, follow these steps:


  • Inserting cold ear drops can cause dizziness, so warm the bottle for two minutes in your hand before using it.

  • Make sure your hands are clean.

  • A person with an ear infection is advised to lie on their side and place the problem ear up.

  • When a child is three and older, gently pull their outer ears toward their head's top.

  • The outer ear should be gently pulled outward and downward toward the feet for children younger than three years.

  • Please carefully place the dropout, letting the dropper in the ear without it.

  • Put a cotton plug in the ear or lie on their side for two minutes


Oral antibiotics

The following are some examples of oral antibiotics used to treat ear infections:


  • The penicillin antibiotic Amoxil (amoxicillin) is used to treat ear infections. Nausea, vomiting, and rash are common side effects.

  • The oral liquid antibiotic Augmentin (amoxicillin/Clavulanic acid) treats ear infections. Diarrhoea and upset stomach are common side effects.

  • An oral antibiotic called Zithromax (azithromycin) treats ear infections. Symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, and headache are common.

  • The oral antibiotic Keflex (cephalexin) is used to treat ear infections. Common side effects include stool changes, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

  • The oral antibiotic Septra (sulfamethoxazole trimethoprim) treats ear infections. Skin rashes, nausea, and vomiting are common side effects.


Suspension vs Solution

A solution or suspension is a liquid form of medication. It is said to be a solution when the diet is completely dissolved in a liquid, an active ingre.

Suspensions are liquids where drug particles stay suspended and are not dissolved completely. It is more stable for some medications to be stopped than to be dissolved.

Skin irritation is the main difference between the two types. Inflamed skin can be susceptible to solutions because they are generally more irritating and contain alcohol. There is less irritation associated with suspensions.


Ear Infections: What's the Best Antibiotic?

Various ear infections are different from person to person, so there is no simple answer to this question.  Amoxicillin is a commonly prescribed antibiotic for ear infections. However, its frequent and usually unnecessary use makes some bacteria resistant.

Another commonly prescribed antibiotic for bacterial ear infections is ciprofloxacin. Whatever antibiotic your medical provider prescribes, follow the directions and complete the treatment. It increases the risk of recurrent infections and the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria when the entire treatment is not met.

After taking the antibiotic for a few days, you may feel the infection is gone. If the medication is not completed, the condition may return, and the bacteria may become resistant.


Side Effects of Antibiotics

You should be aware of the following common side effects when taking antibiotics:

Antibiotics can cause allergic reactions in some people.


Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms. In case of a severe allergic reaction, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room:

  • Wheezing or breathing problems

  • Swelling of the throat

  • Rash

  • Itching

  • Nausea or vomiting


Other Ear Infection Treatment Options

Typically, middle ear infections resolve on their own within 2-3 days, while inner ear infections usually take a few weeks to resolve.


To help clear your ear infection, your healthcare provider may recommend treatments in addition to or instead of antibiotics:


Over-the-counter (OTC) options

Until the infection clears, OTC pain relievers may soothe mild ear infections.


For children who should never take aspirin, talk to your doctor about which OTC pain medication they recommend.


You can buy over-the-counter ear infection pain relievers, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil). If you want to avoid side effects, take these with food.


A few OTC allergy medications may help reduce swelling and open up the Eustachian tubes in children with ear infections triggered by allergies.

If you have an ear infection caused by allergies, talk to your doctor before taking any OTC allergy medication.



A myringotomy may be recommended for more severe or chronic ear infections. A surgeon creates a small hole in the eardrum to drain fluid from the ear.

To prevent fluid buildup and relieve pressure in the middle ear, insert a small tube (called a tympanostomy tube) in your ear. Within four to eight months, the tube usually falls out independently.


Preventing an Ear Infection

Infections caused by bacteria or viruses cannot always be prevented.


If you or your child are concerned about getting an ear infection, you can take the following steps to help prevent it:


  • Wash hands well and often: Germs that cause ear infections can be prevented this way.

  • Don’t smoke: Reduce or eliminate your exposure to secondhand smoke.

  • Get vaccinated: Ear infections can be prevented by staying up-to-date on vaccines (especially the flu vaccine).

  • Manage your allergies: Your doctor can advise you to control your allergies if allergies cause ear infections.

  • Hydrogen peroxide: By removing ear wax, this home remedy can help prevent swimmer's ear by preventing water and bacteria from getting inside your ear. Before trying hydrogen peroxide, consult your doctor or ENT.


When to See a Medical Provider

A healthcare professional should contact you if you notice persistent ear infection symptoms that don't resolve independently.

Adults should take special care to avoid middle ear infections, which can indicate a more severe problem.

Consult your primary care provider, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), or an otologist (ear subspecialist) if you suffer from chronic ear infections.


How Mobi Doctor Can Help

Mobi Doctor offers online urgent care. In minutes, you can check your symptoms, research conditions and treatments, and text a healthcare provider if needed.


Frequently Asked Questions


What antibiotics are used to treat ear infections?

Infections in the ear can be treated with several antibiotics, including oral antibiotics and ear drops. The antibiotics amoxicillin (Amoxil), ofloxacin (Floxin Otic), and cephalexin (Keflex) are commonly used to treat ear infections.


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