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Ear Infections

Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Ear Infections

Ear infections, which are usually found to be more prevalent in children than adults, occur when the middle ear, which is located behind the eardrums gets infected. Ear infections occur mostly after a common cold or any other infection like flu. Mostly simple ear infections get healed on their own, but if symptoms persist, the patient has to be diagnosed properly and then treated first with pain relief medicines and if it is necessary to be given antibiotics.

How to know if you have an ear infection?

Many times when our ears are infected, we don’t understand what is going on – if it is the ear or teeth or something else. That’s probably because our ears do not get infected frequently. Here is a list of the symptoms usually experienced during an ear infection include:

  1. The most common symptom is a pain in either of the ears and which could be constant and sharp in nature.
  2. A feeling of stuffiness in the ear.
  3. Difficulty experienced in hearing sounds appropriate.
  4. Some drainage in the ear.
  5. There could be a sensation of nausea.
  6. In children, there could be lessened appetite.
  7. Fever symptoms can be noticed.

Causes of ear infections

Here are some causes of ear infections:

  1. Most ear infections occur as a side effect to a common cold, allergy or flu because of the congestion and inflammation of nasal passages, throat or eustachian tubes. Fluid can collect in the middle ear on account of the inflammation of Eustachian tubes, and this fluid may get infected, sometimes resulting in an ear infection.
  2. Similarly, the swelling of adenoids (a lymphatic tissue) can also cause infections of the ear.
  3. Bad air quality due to pollution or cigarette smoke can cause ear infections.

Risk factors for ear infections

Small children whose immunities are not fully developed to fight viruses and bacteria are vulnerable to ear infections. Colder climates often cause ear infections in people who are vulnerable to allergies caused by pollutants like pollen.

Diagnosis of ear infections

Initial diagnosis is made with the help of an instrument called Otoscope through which the ENT doctor examines the insides of the ear. An ENT may also try to detect any fluid collection in the middle ear with a pneumatic otoscope. If necessary further tests using a Tympanometer may be conducted.

How to treat ear infections?

Following are the treatment methods:

  1. If it is a simple infection caused by a virus, the doctor may just prescribe a medicine for relief from pain and something that will also bring the fever down.
  2. If the infection has been caused by bacteria, then an antibiotic medicine will be prescribed. It is necessary to complete the entire course of medicine prescribed by the doctor correctly and not to discontinue it even if you see an improvement in the symptoms. Stopping the course midway can result in the infection to recur with the bacteria becoming more resistant to the antibiotics prescribed.
  3. If there is a recurrent incidence of ear infections and fluid keeps remaining in the middle ear, then the best ENT specialists in Delhi suggest a method to drain out the fluids called myringotomy. A tube may be placed to drain the fluids and to prevent them from getting collected again. After a time period, the tubes will fall out.

It is always better to visit the best ENT hospital in Greater Kailash which is Spring Meadows as the specialist at the early signs of an ear infection as timely diagnosis and treatment will ensure a complete cure and prevent unnecessary complications like irreversible hearing loss.