Ear Infections: Get the Facts by Maria Ramos
Ear infections occur when a cold or allergy attacks and clogs the eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear (located behind your eardrum) to the throat. This causes air and fluid to get trapped in the middle ear, causing inflammation. Did you know that ear infections affect children more than adults? There are two kinds of ear infections: acute and chronic. Acute infections usually have a rapid onset and short duration. Chronic infections are more a persistent inflammation and can typically last for a minimum of three months. If you have either an acute or chronic ear infection, you should contact your doctor.
SIGNS, SYMPTOMS, and RISK FACTORS
Signs and symptoms of an ear infection usually start 2-7 days after experiencing a cold. Some symptoms are:
- Ear Pain
- Drainage from ear
- Loss of appetite or vomiting
- Difficulty sleeping
*Please note that if the drainage is thick with a yellowish color that means there was a burst in the eardrum. A hole in the ear drum can heal itself within a few weeks.
Some risk factors are:
- Age: Children three and younger are at risk for ear infections. Most get at least one infection before age seven.
- Birth defects like cleft palate or down syndrome are also at risk.
- Children with weak immune systems are more risk than healthy children.
- Family history: Children with parents or siblings that have had ear infections will likely get them as well.
- Allergies: Allergies that causes stuffiness in the nose can cause fluid buildup which in turn causes ear infections.
The first part of the treatment is pain relief. Here are some home treatments:
- Pain Relievers
- Apply a Hot Compress to Ear
- Encourage Rest
- Use Eardrops
If your child is responding to treatment and improves in the first couple of days, then the rest of the treatment could be done at home. If your child is not responding to treatment and is not better in a couple of days, then call your doctor.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.