Signs and Symptoms of Ear Infections
An ear infection is the common term for the condition known as acute otitis media (AOM). AOM happen when a bacteria or virus causes an infection in the space behind the eardrum. Usually this space, known as the middle ear, is air-filled and contains the tiny bones that vibrate to transmit sound. If an infection reasons this space to fill with fluid, it can lead to increased pressure and reason significant discomfort. Because ear infection signs often clear up on their own, treatment may begin with managing pain and monitoring the problem. Ear infection in infants and severe cases often require antibiotic medications. Long-term problems related to ear infections — persistent fluids in the middle ear, persistent infections or frequent infections — could reason hearing problems and other serious complications.
Causes of Ear Infections
The space behind the eardrum, also called the middle ear, is generally well ventilated by the air that passes up from behind the nose through the Eustachian tubes. This helps keep the middle ear clean and dry and is necessary for the normal functioning of the ear. If due to any reason this airflow is reduced or obstructed, the middle ear becomes damp, warm and a perfect place for germs to breed and reason an ear infection. Eustachian tubes in infants are very soft and often have a hard time staying open and keeping the airflow to the middle ear. This obstruction of the tubes can result in an ear infection. Causes of ear infections include:
Viral Infections – In children, the most general trigger of an ear infection is the general cold or flu. Other forms of upper respiratory infections can also cause swelling of the Eustachian tube, which affects the tube’s capability to deliver regular airflow to the middle ear.
Allergies – Allergies to pollen, food, or animal dander tend to produce the same effect as the common cold or flu. In some cases, exposure to smoke, fumes and various types of airborne toxins can reason swelling in the Eustachian tube that can lead to an ear infection.
Bacteria – In rare circumstances where the immune system is lowered by other diseases, bacteria can reason ear infections directly. In such cases, bacteria tend to attack the middle ear often after a viral infection or an allergy. Bacteria can reason damage to the middle tube often triggering high fevers.
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