Ear Infections

Ear infections. We have all suffered because of this, mostly when we were young and even as adults, although it is not as common among adults as in children. Some actually heal on their own, some need medication to avoid future complications that may result in severe issues like hearing loss. There are mainly three types of ear infection, namely, outer ear infections (otitis externa), middle ear infections (otitis media) and inner ear infections (otitis interna). Among these, the middle ear infection is the commonest of all. People suffering from allergies are more prone to this.

Outer ear infections are normally caused by germs infecting the ear canal. Might be bacteria, virus or fungus (which is quite commonly found among the surfers) or some bad habits like fiddling or picking at your ear with unwanted objects. Causes of inner ear infections are hard to identify but it is caused mainly due to viral infection in the labyrinth portion of the ear or due to physical injury, stress or side effects of a medicine. Middle ear infection is mainly caused due to breeding of germs in the middle ear. This happens mainly because of Eustachian tubes not working properly resulting in jamming of fluids in there.

Ear infection results in pain, mild or severe. In the outer ear, it can cause swelling, redness, irritation in the ear canal, heat and pain. In the inner ear infection, it can result in mild loss of balance and also hearing loss. If it is not medicated, it may follow up with a permanent hearing impairment. Inner ear infection may entail respiratory problems as well. Middle ear infection normally results in the temporary hearing loss, pain, stiffness in the ear, dizziness and fever. Since it is caused to blockage of fluid inside, it may result in the discharge of pale yellow fluid afterwards.

Most ear infections heal automatically. Home medication like a warm washing with a cloth or warm pad may result in the allevation of the pain, most of the times. You can also treat the patient with pain-killers like paracetamol or aspirin (not recommended to patients under the age of 19). If the infection seems to persist, it is better to consult a doctor. He may diagnose it properly, get to the root of the cause and temporarily treat the patient with the right antibiotics, antiseptics or such. In some cases, minor surgery may also be needed but only when prescribed or recommended by a practiced physician.

But they say, prevention is always better than cure. So, how can we prevent getting ear infections? Casual flushing of the ear or chewing of gums really helps keep your ears clean and steady. Avoid getting cold or allergies of any sort which may affect the Eustachian tubes resulting in the ear infections. Smoking is also one of the things you should always avoid. These are just some of the measures you can take as preventive measures.