Ear infections are most commonly viral or bacterial infections that affect the middle ear. This is the place behind the eardrum that contains vibrating bones of the ear, and is air-filled. Children are much more likely to get ear infections than adults.

Ear infections are usually quite painful, because buildup of fluids cause inflammation in the middle ear.
Luckily, ear infections often clear up on their own. Treatment may be as simple as managing pain and making sure the problem doesn’t get worse. Ear infections in severe cases and in infants usually require antibiotics.

Symptoms:

In Children, the symptoms are as follows:

  • Tugging or pulling at the ear
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Ear pain when lying down
  • Crying more than normal
  • More than normal irritability
  • Loss of Balance
  • Difficulty hearing or responding to sound stimulation
  • Fever of 100 degrees or higher
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drainage of Fluid from the ear

In adults, the symptoms are as follows:

  • Drainage of Fluid from the ear
  • Ear pain
  • Diminished hearing

How to know when to see a doctor

The above symptoms may not always indicate an ear infection. These signs could actually be pointing to a number of different conditions. Getting an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment is key. Call your doctor if:

  • Ear pain is severe
  • There is discharge of pus, fluid, or blood from the ear
  • Your child is irritable or sleepless after a cold or other respiratory illness
  • Symptoms last for more than one day

Adults with ear discharge or pain should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Ear infections are caused by virus or bacteria in the middle ear. This can result from another illness such as flu, colds, or allergies, that cause swelling and congestion in the throat, nasal passages, and eustachian tubes.

Eustachian tubes are two narrow tubes that go from the middle ear to high in the back of the throat. These are behind the nasal passages. The throat end of these tubes open and close to refresh air in the ear, regulate air pressure in the middle ear, and drain normal secretions from the middle ear.

If there is swelling or inflammation, or mucus in the eustachian tubes, this can cause an accumulation of fluids in the middle ear. Viral or Bacterial infections of this fluid is what causes the symptoms and pain associated with an ear infection.

The role of the eustachian tubes explains why ear infections are more common in children – this is largely because these tubes are more horizontal and narrow, which are factors that make them more difficult to drain. This also makes them more likely to get clogged, and thus infected.

Ear infections aren’t a fun thing, but they are quite easily treated, especially if caught early on. No one likes to go through pain, and no one wants to see their child suffer. Getting your child or yourself into the doctor if you have these symptoms will help ensure that your ear infection and pain are gone in no time. Making sure you have the proper treatment is key to getting rid of this malady.

 

 

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