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Ear Infection: All You Need to Know

Ear infections can be viral or bacterial infections. These infections can occur in the middle, the ear’s part just behind the eardrum, as well as the inner and outer ear. Usually, ear infections clear up on their own but can cause pain due to fluid buildup or inflammation.

Ear infections can be acute or chronic. According to the ear specialist in Islamabad, acute ear infections are short in duration but painful. In contrast, chronic ear infections reoccur many times and do not clear up on their own. These infections can damage the inner and middle ear, which is infrequently permanent. The common term for an ear infection is known as acute otitis media and sudden infection in the middle ear.

What are the Common Symptoms Associated with Ear Infections?

The usual symptoms associated with ear infections are;

  • Hearing loss
  • Pus-like ear drainage
  • Mild discomfort or pain inside the ear, especially when lying down
  • A persistent or acute feeling of pressure inside the ear
  • Trouble hearing or responding to sound
  • Loss of balance
  • Fussiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fever of 38 C (100 F) or higher
  • Pulling or tugging at an ear

However, these symptoms of ear infection may not occur in children. Some other symptoms can appear in children;

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Restlessness
  • No reaction to certain sounds

These symptoms might come and go or persist. Infectious symptoms may occur in one or both ears. Usually, pain is severe with double ear infections, which are infections in both ears.

What are the Causes of Ear Infections?

Mostly, viruses or bacteria, particularly the bacteria Haemophilus Influenza or Streptococcus pneumoniae, cause ear infections. These bacteria often block the Eustachian tubes, which cause fluid buildup in the middle ear. Eustachian tubes are smaller tubes that are connected from the ear directly to the back of the throat. Several reasons can block Eustachian tube;

  • Changes in air pressure
  • Allergies
  • Colds
  • Smoking
  • Sinus infection
  • Excessive mucus

You can also experience ear infections due to the infected adenoids. The adenoids are glands on the mouth roof behind the nose that helps to protect the body from several infections. An infection can spread from these glands to the Eustachian tubes. In addition, there are also some other factors that can increase the risks of ear infections. These risks are;

  • Recent ear infection or illness
  • Changes in humidity or temperature
  • Altitude changes
  • Excessive exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Being male
  • Lack of excess to healthcare

What are the Home Treatments Available for Ear Infections?

These methods can be effective in relieving mild to moderate ear infection symptoms;

  • Avoid sleeping on the infected ear
  • You can use over-the-counter decongestants such as pseudoephedrine
  • Apply a warmth cloth on the infected ear
  • Prescribed drops can also be effective in relieving ear pain

How to Prevent Ear Infections in Children as well as in Adults?

Here are some tricks to reduce the risks of ear infections in children as well as in adults. These tricks are;

  • Mouth Breathing or Snoring

Constant snoring or breathing through the mouth can be caused by large adenoids, which may lead to ear infections. It may be necessary to do an exam or surgery to remove the adenoids to prevent several types of ear infections.

  • Don’t Smoke

There are a lot of available studies that show that second-hand smoking increases the risks of ear infections. Make sure that no one smokes in the car or house, especially when children are present.

  • Get Vaccination

Make sure that your child’s immunization is strong and up to date, including flu shot (yearly influenza vaccine) for those six months and older. Ask the doctor about meningitis, pneumococcal, and other vaccines too. Preventing bacterial and viral infections also reduce the risks of ear infection in children as well as in adults.

  • Prevent Colds

Try to reduce the child’s exposure to colds during the first year of his life. Make sure to not share foods, toys, utensils, or drinking cups. Was the hands properly and frequently, because most of the ear infections start with a cold.

  • Breastfeed the Baby

Always breastfeed the baby during the first six months to one year of life. Human breast milk is full of antibodies. Therefore, antibodies in human breast milk reduce the chances of ear infections in children.

  • Control Allergies

Mucus and inflammation due to allergic reactions can increase the risks of blocking the Eustachian tube and make infections more likely.

  • Bottle Feed Baby in the Right Angle

If you bottle-feed your baby, then hold the baby at the upright angle (head high and low stomach). Feeding through a horizontal position can cause the fluids to flow back into the Eustachian tube. 

Conclusion

An ear infection is a common condition among children and adults. Someone can experience several symptoms such as loss of appetite or pus-like drainage associated with ear infections. These infections can be acute or persistent. However, it is easy to prevent the symptoms of ear infections by following the above-mentioned steps.