In the human body, ears are used for hearing and balance. Our ear is part of the auditory system, and it is an organ that detects sound waves and converts them into nerve impulses sent to the brain through the auditory nerve. The ear also helps maintain equilibrium (balance) while functioning normally.
Ear infections are prevalent, and it is believed that approximately one in ten children will experience at least one ear infection before the age of three. There are several causes for ear infections, and most can be successfully treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, rest, and plenty of fluids to keep your child hydrated. So what should you do if your child has an ear infection? We shall briefly see this in today’s article. But before that, let us know what causes them and what symptoms are typically shown.
- Ear Infections
- Causes of Ear Infections
- Symptoms of Ear Infections
- Symptoms in Adults
- Symptoms in Children
- Risk Factors for Ear Infections
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 1- What are the complications of ear infections?
- 2- Can we take Over-the-counter medicines for ear infections?
- 3- Can ear infections be treated surgically?
- 4- How do doctors diagnose ear infections?
Bacterial or viral ear infections are both possible. They can affect your middle ear, which is located right behind your eardrum, as well as your outer and inner ear. They usually go away independently, but swelling or fluid buildup can make them unpleasant.
The health of your child’s ears is a serious matter, and ear infections can cause serious pain and discomfort, both in kids and adults.
Fortunately, most cases will resolve independently without antibiotics or other medications.
Chronic or acute ear infections can be both likely.
- Chronic ear infections don’t go away or return frequently, and they can harm the middle and inner ear, but it is rarely permanent.
- Acute ear infections are uncomfortable but only last a few days.
Causes of Ear Infections
A common misconception about ear infections is that they are caused by bacteria alone. Viruses cause most cases of ear infections.
Particularly the bacterium Streptococcus or Haemophilus influenzae cause ear infections. A blockage of your Eustachian tubes (which are tiny tubes connecting the back of your throat to each of your ears) causes fluid to build up in your middle ear, ultimately leading to an ear infection.
The following causes can block Eustachian tubes:
- Excess mucus
- Sinus infections
- Changes in air pressure
Moreover, certain glands known as Adenoids protect your body from infections and are present on the roof of your mouth and may also get infected, thus contributing to an ear infection.
Symptoms of Ear Infections
The symptoms of ear infections may vary widely in adults and children.
Symptoms in Adults
While most common symptoms are:
- Mild pain in your ear
- Pus-like drainage from the ear
- Hearing loss
The symptoms may also vary if there is an infection of a single ear, or a double ear infection, which is more painful. Acute ear infections are usually less noticeable than chronic ear infections.
Symptoms in Children
Young babies or toddlers may show symptoms associated with them. These may be:
- Loss of Appetite
- Fussiness or restlessness
- Frequent loss of balance
Children under six months should consult a doctor if they develop a fever or other ear infection symptoms. If your kid has a fever of more than 102°F (39°C) or severe ear pain, get medical help immediately.
Risk Factors for Ear Infections
Because young children’s Eustachian tubes are small and narrow, they are more susceptible to ear infections. Approximately 80% of youngsters will experience an acute ear infection at some point in their lives.
Moreover, bottle-fed Infants have a higher rate of ear infections than those who are breastfed.
Other risk factors of developing ear infections are:
- Being male
- Attitude changes
- Use of pacifiers
- Low birth weight
- Exposure to cigarettes smoke
- Lack of access to healthcare
- Changes in humidity and moisture
- Previous ear infections
- Swimming frequently in water bodies such as oceans, lakes, or rivers.
- Being in daycare
Ear infections are a common ailment among children and adults alike. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent them from occurring in the first place. If you’re still experiencing ear pain, visit MARHAM.PK for professional advice on treating your infection effectively and immediately by consulting an ENT Specialist. We have the best available ENT Specialists for your advice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1- What are the complications of ear infections?
Ear infections may be recurring. There are rare or severe complications that may follow an ear infection, such as Meningitis, mastoiditis, ruptured eardrum, and hearing loss.
2- Can we take Over-the-counter medicines for ear infections?
Over-the-Counter Medicines such as Acetaminophen can be used if you have ear infections to soothe the pain resulting from it. You can also use over-the-counter or prescribed ear drops.
3- Can ear infections be treated surgically?
If your ear infections are not eliminated with the usual treatment, your doctor may acquire surgical methods by inserting ear tubes surgically in your eardrums to drain out the fluid.
4- How do doctors diagnose ear infections?
Ear infections are diagnosed by symptoms such as redness or ear bubbles filling inside your ears or a bulging or collapsed eardrum.