Risks and Causes of Ear Infection

Ear infections come about when the middle ear has a viral or bacterial infection. These infections can be quite painful. This is because they are accompanied by inflammation and there is fluid that builds up. These infections can be acute or chronic. Acute infections are painful but don’t last long. Chronic infections never go away and keep on recurring. They are the type of infections that cause permanent ear damage.

EarInfectionPowerPoint_zps7a251102What Causes an Ear Infection?

Ear infections occur when one of your Eustachian tubes becomes swollen or blocked and fluid builds up in your middle ear. Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run from each ear directly to the back of the throat. The causes of Eustachian tube blockage include:

Sinus infections
Excess mucus
Tobacco smoking

Infected or swollen adenoids (tissue near your tonsils that trap harmful bacteria and viruses)

Sourced from:http://www.healthline.com/health/ear-infections#Overview1

Ear infections are mostly common in children. There are certain risk factors that make them prone to these infections. It could be the genes, bottle feeding or pacifiers. The environment they live in also plays a role. Secondhand tobacco smoke is lethal.

Heredity: This explains about 60-70% of the ear infection risk. A history of ear infections in a parent or sibling means there’s a high likelihood of similar problems in other children in the family. Your family may have a structure similarly that makes it more difficult to get ear infections. Boys also tend to get more infections than girls. Being of Native American or Eskimo descent is also risk factor.

Bottle-feeding: Those who drink while lying down or who fall asleep with their bottles are also at risk, since milk can drain through the Eustachian tube and into the middle ear, where it can become a perfect medium for bacteria. You can reduce the chance of infection by holding your baby upright when you feed him. Keep him upright for at least 30 minutes after a feeding to allow the stomach contents to empty.

Environmental Factors: Children who breathe secondhand tobacco smoke are more likely to have ear infections. Smoke irritates the Eustachian tube and paralyzes the hair-like filaments called cilia that line the breathing passages and sweep away germs. When cilia aren’t working, bacteria, viruses and secretions become trapped throughout the breathing passages. Children who regularly play indoors with others, either in daycare or preschool, are also more susceptible to ear infections since they are exposed to more colds and viruses.

Sourced from:http://www.parenting.com/health-guide/ear-infections/risk-factors

The symptoms of ear infection vary in adults and children. For instance children will have difficulties in sleeping and fever. Adults will have ear pain and fluid coming out of their ears.

Signs and symptoms common in children include:

Ear pain, especially when lying down
Tugging or pulling at an ear
Difficulty sleeping
Crying more than usual
Acting more irritable than usual
Difficulty hearing or responding to sounds
Loss of balance
Fever of 100 F (38 C) or higher
Drainage of fluid from the ear
Common signs and symptoms in adults include:
Ear pain
Drainage of fluid from the ear
Diminished hearing

Sourced from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ear-infections/symptoms-causes/dxc-20199484