Ear infections are viral or bacterial infections in the middle ear. The middle ear is an air-filled section behind your eardrum. Ear infections are common, especially among children. Ear infections can often be painful due to fluid build-up and inflammation.
Ear infections generally clear up on their own. Most treatment begin with easing the pain and monitoring problems. Sometimes, antibiotics are administered to clear up both acute and chronic ear infections. Acute ear infections are short in duration though painful. Chronic ear infections don't clear up, and may cause serious complications to the middle and inner ear.
Both bacteria and viruses can cause ear infections. Ear infections occur when a pathogen causes your Eustachian tubes to swell or get blocked. This causes fluid to build up in the middle ear. Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run from each ear to the back of the throat.
Eustachian tubes are responsible for regulating air pressure and draining normal secretions. They also refresh the air in the middle ear.
Ear infection often occur in conjunction with other illnesses. Ailments such as colds, allergies, sinus infections or the seasonal flu may increase your likelihood of an ear infection. Infected adenoids, excess mucus, smoking, and change in air pressure can also lead to Eustachian tube blockage.
As Eustachian tubes are more horizontal and narrower in children. Thus, they are more likely to get clogged. Furthermore, bottle-fed infants are at a higher risk of ear infection than breastfed infants. Additionally, pacifier use increases the likelihood of developing an ear infection.
Some other outside factors that may lead to an ear infection include sudden climate change, altitude changes or exposure to second-hand smoke.
The common signs and symptoms of ear infection are:
• Trouble sleeping
• Loss of balance
• Ear pain, particularly when lying down
• Crying more than usual in children
• Trouble hearing
• Ear drainage
• Loss of appetite
Symptoms like these may come and go and it might also occur in both ears. Symptoms of chronic ear infections will be less noticeable than those of acute ear infections, but should never go ignored.
Prevent common colds as well as other illnesses.
• Whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, hold your baby in the most upright position possible. This will prevent drainage into the middle ear.
• Avoid overly crowded places.
• Avoid passive smoking and ensure no one smokes in your family.
• Consult your doctor and find out about any vaccinations that may be appropriate for your children.
When To Consult A Doctor
The symptoms of an ear infection can be an indicator of other conditions. Thus, it is important that you consult a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Schedule an appointment with your doctor anytime you notice ear infection symptoms in a child less than six months of age. If your baby is sleepless and irritable after an upper respiratory infection, consult a doctor. If symptoms las for more than a day, ear pain is severe, or you observe pus-like or bloody discharge from the ear, see a doctor immediately.
If you or your child is suffering from an ear infection or experiencing ear pain, come to BASS Advanced Urgent Care in Walnut Creek today. Through our state-of-the-art infrastructure and experienced doctors, we provide the best service in town.