The Causes, Treatment of Middle Ear Infection.
Today, I would like to write about an ear infection, but before that, I will like to mention how important the ear is to the human body, of course, I already know that everyone knows about how important the ear is, but maybe just a little reminder.
The ears are paired organs, each located on each side of the head, which fulfills the purpose of hearing and balance, there are certain conditions that could affect the ears, they include infection, tinnitus, Meniere's disease, eustachian tube dysfunction, and a lot more. For the purpose of this post, we will be looking at Middle ear infection, which is an infection that is located in the middle ear, it is also called Otitis media, it can occur as a result of a sore throat, a cold or respiratory infection.
Otitis media can affect both children and adults, it is very common amongst children as there is a statistics that state that, 3 out of 4 children have one episode of otitis media by the time they become 3 years old. While anyone is at risk of getting an ear infection, there are certain factors that can boost the possibility of that occurrence, let me list some of them briefly;
- When a child has a family history of ear infections.
- When a child has a weak immune system.
- When the child stays around someone who smokes.
- A child who spends almost his entire day in a daycare setting.
- A child who has been denied appropriate breastfeeding.
- A child who has a cold.
- A child who is being bottle-fed while lying on his back or on her back.
Middle ear infection comes to light when there is a malfunction of the Eustachian tube, which is a canal linking the middle ear with the throat region. The Eustachian tube normally functions by helping to equalize the existing pressure found between the outer ear and the middle ear. When the tube fails to work appropriately, it would then prevents normal drainage of fluid from the middle ear, creating a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum, what do you think would happen next when the fluid is unable to drain? It permits the growth of bacteria and viruses in the ear, leading to acute otitis media. Here are some of the reasons why the Eustachian tube may be unable to appropriately function, one is the malformation of the Eustachian tube, and the other is a cold or allergy which could cause congestion and swelling of the lining of the throat, nose, and Eustachian tube, it is swelling in this strategic regions that will prevent the normal fluid drainage from the ear.
Otitis media comes in different types, the types include;
*Acute otitis media, which is a middle ear infection that happens abruptly creating redness and swelling. Mucus and fluid get trapped inside the ear creating ear pain and fever.
Otits media with effusion, in this case, fluid effusion and mucus keep accumulating in the middle ear after the first case of a prior infection subsides. In this case, the child could experience a feeling of fullness in the ear that could have a strong effect on his or her hearing without a prior symptom.
Chronic otitis media with effusion, when the fluid remains in the middle ear for a very long time or keeps re-curing even when there is no case of infection, could result in serious difficulty fighting a new infection that can affect the hearing ability of the child.
How to know if your child has an ear infection.
The symptom experienced by each child varies greatly, these are some of the common symptoms of otitis media;
- Finding it difficult to sleep or remain asleep.
- Tugging or pulling at one or both sides of the ears.
- Ear balance.
- Inability to ear appropriately.
- Loss of balance.
- Ear pain.
- Fluid draining out of the ear.
You need to see a doctor instantly when you begin to notice these symptoms;
- Serious pain in the ear.
- Discharge of fluid, pus, or blood from the ear.
- Inability of the toddler to sleep.
- If any related symptom persists beyond one day.
Complications from a case of an ear infection are also highly possible, the re-occurrence of ear infection can result in highly serious complicated cases including:
Ear-drum tear: When there is an eardrum tar, it would heal up within 72 hours, in some cases, surgical repair will be required.
Speech or developmental delays: Temporary or permanent hearing loss in toddlers or infants would lead to speech delays, as well as social and developmental skills.
Impaired hearing: With a mild case of hearing loss, there is an experienced case of back and forth with pain, but soon after the infection clears, the pain goes away but the ear infection happens again and again resulting in a more significant hearing loss. Permanent damage to the eardrum or middle ear structure will result in permanent hearing loss.
Infection spread: Untreated infections that fail to respond well to treatment could spread to nearby tissues, this infection would lead to bone damage and spread to other tissues of the skill, including the brain or membranes that surround the brain.
What's the best way to prevent ear infections if not by going through the route of prevention;
Nursing mothers should try to breastfeed their babies for at least six months, as breast milk contains antibodies that would offer protection from ear infections.
Ask your doctor about appropriate vaccinations for your child, flu shots that are seasonal, other bacterial vaccines, and seasonal flu shots that may help to prevent ear infections.
Do not prop a bottle into your baby's mouth while he is lying down, also avoid leaving bottles in the crib with your baby.
Stay away from a smoke-filled environment, also make sure that no one smokes around your home.
Teach kids to frequently and thoroughly wash their hands, and also tell them not to drink or share utensils. Teach them not to sneeze or cough into their elbow, having your child in a setting with a reduced number of other kids will help a lot.
There are times when fluid stays in the middle ear even after taking antibiotics and the infection disappears, when this happens, the doctor will suggest a small tube to be placed in the ear, this tube is placed at the opening of the eardrum, the tube helps with preventing fluid from building up and helps with the reliving of the pressure in the middle ear, it will also help you hear better. The tube will fall out usually after six months.
An ear infection could impair the quality of life of the affected person, creating serious problems like intense pain, it can actually be treated with prescribed medications but if left untreated for a long time, could lead to severe complications.
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