What Causes Ear Infections?
It’s no secret that ear infections are a common childhood ailment, but they can affect adults as well. We know this condition can be painful and uncomfortable at any age, and we’re here to help. We’ll provide treatment to make sure ear infections are not a constant factor in your life.
There are several different types of ear infections, each with a different cause.
- Outer ear infections are the result of skin in the ear canal becoming irritated or scratched, resulting in infection. They’re sometimes known as swimmer’s ear.
- Middle ear infections occur when the Eustachian tube, a small canal that connects the middle ear to the throat, becomes swollen.
- Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that impacts balance and is caused by an infection from a respiratory illness.
What Does an Ear Infection Feel Like?
A middle ear infection typically causes inner ear pain and a sense of fullness in the ear. An outer ear infection may start out as a rash and might make your ear painful, red or swollen.
These infections might also lead to trouble hearing, a fever or fluid draining from the ear.
Does My Child Have an Ear Infection?
Because the Eustachian tube is smaller in children, it is more prone to swelling; when this occurs, fluid is trapped in the middle ear. This fluid presses against the eardrum, causing pain, and can harbor germs that lead to infection. The result is an earache and, in some cases, loss of hearing.
Particularly when they’re younger, your child might have trouble verbally communicating that they are experiencing discomfort. If you notice any of the following, they might have an ear infection:
- Pulling at an ear
- Not responding to sounds
- Crying more than usual
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of balance
- Trouble sleeping
How Is an Ear Infection Treated?
Our provider may prescribe antibiotics for the infection. If they are chronic or reoccurring, options like ear tubes might be suggested.
Additionally, there are a variety of steps that can be taken at home to reduce discomfort from an ear infection. Possibilities include pressing a warm washcloth against the affected ear and using eardrops or over-the-counter pain medication. Aspirin should be avoided in young children.
How Long Will an Ear Infection Last?
Most ear infections clear up within three to five days.
Can An Ear Infection Lead to Complications?
Left untreated, an ear infection may result in:
- Hearing loss
- Balance problems
- Cholesteatoma, a cyst behind the eardrum
- Mastoiditis, which occurs when cells in the mastoid bone fill with pus and eventually destroys the bone
Our team at Sacramento Ear, Nose & Throat will be here to provide treatment whether you or your child are experiencing symptoms of an initial ear infection or are dealing with reoccurring ones. Give us a call to get started today.