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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Ear infections experts?

(11 Posts)
SavoirFaire Mon 03-Dec-12 22:41:39

Would appreciate some advice. Can't get a docs app til end of the week and just want to know if there's any risk either to my DC or to kids at nursery etc. Sorry a bit long, just giving some history....

DC is 13 months. About 8 weeks ago had an ear infection, gunky ear. Got emergency appt at docs (v large practice). The GP who was doing emergency apps that day is - in my opinion - not brilliant and I don't entirely trust her opinion. She said DC had a perforated eardrum, which was 'good' because the pressure build up of the infection had been released (we'd had no indication of infection before this point btw - no temperature or any obvious pain, until puss started to appear). She prescribed antibiotics and ear drops which we went away and gave. Ear gunk cleared up within 48 hours. A week or so later - a weekend - ear gunk appeared again. Had to go to out of hours docs. This doc told me that antibiotics previously prescribed would have cleared the infection, but we shouldn't have given ear drops as it is impotant to keep the ear dry. And therefore, we needed to just keep things dry and clean and just expect the puss to keep appearing for a while - 6-8 weeks.

So over the the next month or so, the puss would appear on and off and I didn't worry too much about it. Now it is 8 weeks since original infection. The pus is back after a two week break (on average there's been pus every 7 days or so and it always seems to coincide with weekends, hence no docs appt and then cleared up by Monday) and now it seems to smell a bit. No obvious pain (DC is fiddling with ear a bit but not seemingly in any pain). No temperature.

What is going on? How serious is a perforated ear drum? (I was given ZERO info about this and am now worried it may have a permanent effect). What should I be doing about this? I'll be seeing a different doctor later in the week but can't get an appt until Friday. Is there any long term risk to DC's hearing? Thank you!

ReallyTired Mon 03-Dec-12 22:51:26

Perforated ear drums are very common in small children. Usually the perforation heals up within a week. In those circumstanes there is no long term damage to hearing. Other than being horrifically painful, it is not serious and there is no long term hearing loss.

A perforated ear drum is serious if it doesn't heal up. The middle ear is open to infection and the ear drum will not be able to vibrate normally. A damaged ear drum can cause hearing loss.

It sounds like your DC needs a referal to an ENT consultant.

Ear drops may well be appriopiate depending on the nature of the infection. When ds had problems with his grommets leaving a perforation he was prescribe Sofradex by the ENT consultant.

dikkertjedap Tue 04-Dec-12 10:00:42

As ReallyTired already mentioned, you need a referral to an ENT consultant. Little point seeing the GP again, so I would get on the phone and try to arrange an urgent referral given how long it is going on.

In all likelihood he keeps getting new infections, this could be serious and hence should be sorted out pronto.

I would push GP practice to refer you for an appointment with a consultant this week or take him to A&E during the weekend or go private (many larger NHS hospitals have consultants who work both for the NHS and private, you can phone the hospital/look on website and contact the consultant's secretary).

Hope it clears up soon with no ill effects.

SavoirFaire Tue 04-Dec-12 21:21:56

Thanks. I'm worried now. Will try and get an appointment this week. Thank you.

ReallyTired Tue 04-Dec-12 22:17:40

SavoirFaire if its any consulation ds had nine months of gunk coming out of his ears and now at the age of ten he no longer needs hearing aids. He is doing well at school.

I think you should talk to your GP. If you want an emergency referal then you need the backing of your GP. A self referal will be put to the bottom of the pile.

Its worth discussing with your GP what anti biotics have been prescribed. Maybe the infection is resistant to amoyiclin or whatever has been prescribed. Prehaps the GP should take a culture of the gunk to know what anti biotic to throw at the infection.

The national deaf children's society has lots of resourcs and advice on glue ear.

SavoirFaire Wed 05-Dec-12 22:10:00

Thanks. Saw gp. Refused a referral but he took a swab. Prescribed more antibiotics with a review on Monday after results of the swab. He couldn't see the ear drum, too much gunk.

dikkertjedap Thu 06-Dec-12 15:08:55

I don't know if it is an option for you, but if it is I would be inclined to see an ENT consultant privately.

Don't know where you are, in London there is the Portland Hospital but many NHS hospitals have consultants who take on private patients. This way he would be seen very quickly and you would have some peace of mind.

redwellybluewelly Fri 07-Dec-12 19:35:01

We have done a lot of ear infectionsand two perforations. DD had them for nine months almost constantly and they led to glue ear and an 80% loss of hearing.

Never gave antibiotics though. Partly because her paed team said no point (she is under hospital care) and partly because they always made her worse. GP always agreed with paed as well.

SavoirFaire Fri 04-Jan-13 22:48:56

I am back, after some time! so, I finally got the doctor to agree to a referral, about 3 days before Christmas. (Well, actually I didn't - I saw a different doctor who was shocked that I hadn't had a referral already....). Our GP practice is truly shit and I am now looking to change. I found out today that, because of the delay in getting the referral (which of course then got stuck in the system over the holidays), we are looking at 3 months until we can get an NHS appointment. That will then be SEVEN months since initial infection, with gunk in ears the whole time. I am gutted. Now looking to get a private appointment (which we will have to pay for), but have been told there is a 2 WEEK turnaround time on getting a private referral. I'm not sure if this is normal, but it seems ludicrous to me. I'm very cross and sad. DD is 15 months and not saying anything. I don't think hearing is majorly affected - she can follow the odd instruction - but I think it's likely there has been some impact. The only words she is saying (hiya, bye, mama, dada) she had before the ear infection. She was doing one or two other protowords around when she got the ear infection but I haven't heard them recently.

The doctor I spoke to today, about getting a private referral, said that DD would more than likely need grommets. I'm not sure how she knows this (at least one doctor has said she has an outer ear infection and no one has mentioned glue ear). She also said that a private doctor 'would probably want to put her through major surgery'. What does that even mean??? I am totally clueless on ear infections, grommets etc - not something I ever had as a child. Can someone explain what I need to know, and whether this sort of treatment from the GPs sounds normal?! What should I be asking when we finally see a consultant? Will they give her a hearing test?


Chinateacup Fri 04-Jan-13 23:11:32

So we have had similar ear probs and recently been put on low-dose antibiotics which seem to be doing the trick. Have review next week but have had 6 weeks gunk free which is a big success. We were told grommets are not the preferred option for such little ones but I am not clear what the next steps are regarding long-term plans. Fortunately his hearing is fine - it was actually the audiologist who referred to ENT.

Chinateacup Fri 04-Jan-13 23:15:05

Should add LO is the same age as your DD and says about the same words etc so I wouldn't worry. We were with audiologist as he failed newborn hearing tests so it went from there

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