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Common ear infections: What you should know about them

Dr. Deepak Verma 91% (1211 ratings)
MS - ENT(Gold Medalist), MBBS
ENT Specialist,  •  7 years experience
Common ear infections: What you should know about them

The most common ear infections happen because of bacterial or viral growth in the middle ear, the part which lies just behind the ear drum. Middle-ear infections can be very painful and children are most commonly reported in children. Most of these infections are caused by the blockage of the Eustachian tube, which connects the ear and the throat, causing the build-up of fluids and swelling. Here is a guide to the most common forms of ear infections and their symptoms, ranging from the acute to the chronic.

Acute infections have intense symptoms but can be cured with time and treatment. They generally last for shorter durations.

In Chronic cases of infections, the patient complains of recurrent symptoms multiple times. Chronic ear infections have the potential of causing permanent damage to the ear.

Symptoms reported by most patients with Ear infections:

1. Pain in the ear (Mild to severe): This is caused due to increased pressure owing to the blockage of the Eustachian tube. Collection of fluid inside the ear would increase the intensity of pain in most cases. Children will keep tugging at their ear and most likely be cranky.
2. Redness and swelling: Both of these are inevitable accompanying symptoms in case of any infection in the body.
3. Oozing of the fluids: The blockage leads to the fluid being released from the ear which can be watery, thick yellow or mixed with blood depending on the severity and type of infection.
4. Fever
5. Difficulty in sleeping.
6. In some cases when the infection spreads, difficulty in balancing the body is experienced as body balance is maintained by ears.
7. The patient might also experience increased irritability.
8. Ear infections can also cause a hearing problem if the condition continues to go untreated.

Ear infections should be promptly dealt with to prevent long-term damages. So here is what should be done when you have ear pain symptoms.

1. Consult an ENT who will prescribe pain medication as the first line of treatment.
2. After the necessary tests are done, antibiotics are prescribed in most cases by the doctor. Other medications for palliative treatment (to ease the symptoms) are administered. However in a few rare cases, the infection might be because of non-bacterial causes in which antibiotics might not cure the state.
3. In case the problem keeps recurring, one must visit the doctor again and get further tests and treatment done.

As prevention is always better than cure, care should be taken to avoid all chances of carrying the infection to your ear. Maintain cleanliness in and around, especially in the case of children.

For further queries; we'd be happy to help!

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