An ear infection occurs when a viral or a bacterial infection affects the section behind the eardrum, also known as the middle year. The worst part is that these infections can be quite painful because there’s an inflammation involved and the fluid builds up in that part of the ear, causing those severe earaches.
There are two types of ear infections, chronic and acute. The acute ones are extremely painful but don’t last long. On the other hand, chronic ear infections are continuous but don’t hurt so much. Nevertheless, if you don’t go and see a doctor, these infections can cause severe and permanent damage to your inner and middle ear.
If you’re wondering what causes the infection, you need to know that many factors are involved. When the eustachian tubes are swollen or blocked, the fluid will accumulate in the middle ear. These tubes are small and go from each ear to the area located in the back of the throat. Among the causes that block the Eustachian tubes, we should mention allergies, flu, smoking, excess mucus, infections of the sinus, swollen adenoids but also changes in the air pressure.
Children and babies are most exposed to ear infections because of their tubes a shorter and narrower, compared to adults. Also, there are other factors that increase the chance of getting an ear infection, such as climate or altitude changes, living in a smoking environment, and using a pacifier.
From time to time, make sure to make a doctor appointment and see if your ears are in good shape. This is extremely important because you, your children, and even your dog can develop an infection. Everyone is at risk so make sure you get an otoscope for home use that you can use to check the everyone’s ears.
For example, kids are sensitive when it comes to ear infections because of their anatomy. Usually, they develop an ear infection right after or during a cold because the fluid gets trapped in the middle ear and the bacteria spreads and causes the swelling or the congestion to happen. Apart from this, kids tend to have numerous allergies that can also lead to inflammation that blocks the eustachian tubes.
Because a child shorter and floppier tubes, different from the adult ones, the fluid and the germs are blocked inside easier. Besides, their immune system is still weak, and they don’t have the ability to fight back bacteria and viruses.
Even though babies can’t come to you and complain about an ear infection, there are ways to read the signs. If children can complain about something painful inside their ear, this doesn’t apply to toddlers.
Generally, you’ll notice a fever that goes above 102 degrees which is a clear indicator of an ear infection. Because they feel the pain but can’t verbally indicate so, they will show signs of irritability, especially if you lie them down. This position puts tremendous pressure on the eustachian tubes.
Another thing you’ll notice when your baby develops an ear infection is the fact that he or she will start sleeping more often, have no appetite, or worse, suffer from vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms also apply to adults and children pass the age of 1. If you talk to your little one and you see no response, it’s definitely something wrong with the ear. However, you shouldn’t worry so much because the hearing will restore one the infection is cured and the middle era is free of fluid.
There are cases, not too often, fortunately, when these signs, mentioned above, aren’t visible, and the only red flag you receive is when you see fluid coming out your child’s ear. This means that the eardrum is perforated which develops when the fluid puts a lot of pressure on it resulting in a sudden burst. Even if you’re worried because it’s not normal, the ear will heal by itself. Just that the process is a tad longer compared to an incipient stage of an ear infection.
For adults, the symptoms aren’t much different. The only difference is that we are able to localize the pain faster. We feel a mild discomfort at first inside our ear that bothers us all day. Plus, there’s that feeling like having a pressure in our middle ear that won’t go away even if we change the environment. We tend to get worried when our hearing starts to diminish, and a small quantity of liquid comes out of the ear.
These symptoms can be persistent or occasional. There’s also the possibility of having both ears infected. Chronic ear infections aren’t so noticeable at first compared to an acute infection.
Not only humans are prone to ear infections, but also pets. Dogs are really exposed to this disease. So, if you see your furry friends whining and scratching his ears with his paws, you need to get him to a veterinarian.
The canine era can suffer from three types of ear infections, like otitis externa, media, and internal. These are quite common among many species of dogs, especially those that have big and floppy ears. You can help them reduce the frequency of this type of episodes if you do ear check-ups from time to time.