A red ear infection is a condition in which a person's ear is infected and turns a bright red color. The redness and swelling is typically most noticeable in infants and younger children, but can also occur in adults. Ear infections can be painful and can sometimes lead to hearing damage or even loss if left untreated.
There are two main types of ear infections: ottis media with effusion (OME) is an infection in the middle ear with no symptoms on the outer ear, and acute ottis media (AOM) is a middle ear infection with redness and swelling on the outside of the ear. AOM is typically what would be referred to as a "red ear infection."
A red ear infection occurs when bacteria enters the ear causing an infection, pain and swelling. There are a variety of different bacteria that can cause an ear infection; only a doctor can properly diagnose an ear infection and provide treatment.
Red ear infections are typically treated with antibiotics to kill the infection. If a child has frequent red ear infections a doctor might also consider surgically inserting tubes in the ears in order to improve drainage and prevent future infections from occurring.
Once a patient starts taking antibiotics, a red ear infection will typically last two to three days before it has completely cleared up.
Red ear infections are often accompanied by fever and upper respiratory infections in younger children. Starting antibiotics early on in the infection can help reduce the damage done to the child's ear and can help fight the respiratory infection as well.