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Ear Infections - otitis media

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 8, 2018

   3 min     


What is an ear infection?

The most common cause of earaches is an ear infection, or otitis media. Although this disorder is a common cause of infant suffering and pain, and is often related with kids, adults can also be affected.

The infection in the middle ear (the area behind the eardrum where minute bones pick up vibrations and move them along to the inner ear) very often co-occurs  the flu, common cold,  or other kinds of respiratory infections. This is because the middle ear is associated to the upper respiratory tract by a minute passage known as the Eustachian tube. Microorganisms that are growing in the nose or sinus cavities can progress up the Eustachian tube and enter the middle ear to start growing.

Most parents are disappointedly accustomed with ear infections. Besides baby health visits, ear infections are the most frequent cause for visits to the child specialist, responsible for about thirty million doctor visits a year in the U.S.


The middle ear is a small area at the back of the ear drum that is supposed to be well ventilated by air that generally passes up from back of the nose, via the Eustachian tube, keeping the middle ear clean and dry. When there is not adequate fresh air aerating the middle ear, such as when the Eustachian tube is obstructed or blocked, the area becomes moist, static, and warm, a perfect nurturing domain for germs.

In infants and children, the Eustachian tube is usually too soft or undeveloped and has a strenuous time staying open. Post nasal drainage, allergies, sinus infections, common cold viruses and adenoid disorders can all hamper with the Eustachian tube’s potential to let air pass into the middle ear. When the doctor examines the ear drum, he or she will see that it is usually swollen, red and be able to make the detection of an ear infection.

For kids, the most frequent provocation of an ear infection is an upper respiratory viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. These diseases can make the Eustachian tube so inflated that air can no longer flow into the middle ear. Allergies -- to dust, pollen, animal dander, or food -- can cause the same effect as a cold or flu, as can smoke, pollution, and other surrounding germs. Bacteria can straight away cause an ear infection, but generally these microbes come on the remainder of a viral infection or an adverse reaction, rapidly finding their way into the warm, moist habitat of the middle ear. Attacking bacteria can create major damage, turning swelling into infection and evoking fevers.

Among the bacteria most often found in infected middle ears is the same category responsible for many cases of pneumonia, sinusitis and other respiratory disorders. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (ear, nose, and throat physicians), the cognate pneumococcal vaccine is very effectual against various damage of the most common bacteria that cause ear infections. This vaccine is habitually given to infants and little ones to prevent inflammation of the meninges, and blood infections. Your child’s physician should guide you on the use of this vaccine, which may aid to prevent at least some ear infections.

Ear infections occur in different orders. A single, remote case is called an acute ear infection (acute otitis media). If the disorder clears up but comes back as many as three times in a six-month period (or four times in a single year), the person is said to have repeated ear infections (recurrent acute otitis media). This generally indicates the Eustachian tube isn't functioning well. A fluid accumulation in the middle ear without infection is called otitis media with effusion, a disorder where fluid stays in the ear because it is not well ventilated, but germs have not started to flourish.

In recent years, scientists have discovered the features of people most probable to suffer repeated middle ear infections:

People with a family history of ear problems


Children who go to day care centers

People living in family circle with tobacco smokers

People with poor immune systems or chronic respiratory diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and asthma

Babies who are bottle-fed (breastfed babies get fewer ear infections)

People with malformations of the palate, such as defacement

Tags:  ENT - Ear Nose Throat,

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