Information on Ear Infection
Ear infection is a common medical condition which is basically an infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is the part of the ear that is located behind the eardrum and it can get infected when certain types of germs that come from the throat and the nose get trapped in there. The middle ear is connected to the throat by a small tube that gets swollen when a person suffers from a common cold or influenza.
If the tube gets swollen enough the fluids may get trapped inside the ear which leads to the growth of germs that cause the infection. Ear infections usually occur in infants because the aforementioned tube is significantly smaller and it can get blocked very easily. Ear infection can be recognized by numerous different symptoms but the most common of them all is earache which can be mild but it also may hurt a lot. It is characteristic for infants to cry, be fussy and pull at their ears.
Other common symptoms of ear infections in infants are fever and troubled sleeping. Sometimes, the infection may cause a discharge of a thick, yellow fluid from the ears. The discharge is usually a good indication of a burst eardrum. This symptom is not that serious because it actually relieves the pain and the eardrum can heal all by itself after some time. If a fluid builds up in the middle ear, but no infections occur, it may make a person feel as if their ears are plugged.
Troubled hearing may also occur but it goes away when the fluid gets drained. Sometimes it takes up to a few weeks for it to happen. Infection of the middle ear is usually diagnosed by looking into the ears while using a special tool equipped with a light.
The exam is usually not uncomfortable. Ear infections heal on their own, but pain relievers, warmth and plenty of rest may be of great help when it comes to relieving the symptoms. Sometimes a doctor can prescribe certain types of eardrops and antibiotics as well. Reoccurring infections and hearing problems may require minor surgical procedures. In order to prevent ear infections one should quit smoking, wash the hands frequently and be immunized.
Sometimes ear infections can cause certain complications such as short-term hearing loss due to the buildup of the fluids in the middle ear. Sometimes a long term hearing loss may be caused as well. Eardrums may be ruptured by the pressure and sometimes the infection may lead to mastoidis.