Ear Infections

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Nose & Sinus Disorder

An ear infection may occur when bacterial or viral infections affect the middle ear, leading to a painful inflammation or fluid build-up in the middle ear. Ear infections can either be chronic or acute. Chronic ear infections do not clear up completely and may recur many times, whereas acute ear infections are painful but short in duration.

Causes of ear infections may include:

  • · allergies
  • · colds
  • · sinus infections
  • · excess mucus
  • · tobacco smoking
  • · infected or swollen adenoids (tissue near your tonsils that trap harmful bacteria and viruses)

Although ear infections are common in infants and young children, other factors that increase the risk of developing an ear infection may include:

  • · altitude changes
  • · climate changes
  • · exposure to cigarette smoke
  • · pacifier use
  • · recent illness or ear infection

A few of the common symptoms of ear infections include:

  • · mild pain or discomfort inside the ear
  • · a feeling of pressure inside the ear that persists
  • · fussiness in young infants
  • · pus-like ear drainage
  • · hearing loss

Most mild ear infections clear up without intervention. Some of the following methods are effective in relieving the symptoms of a mild ear infection:

  • · applying a warm cloth to the affected ear
  • · taking over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • · using over-the-counter or prescription ear drops to relieve pain
  • · taking over-the-counter decongestants such as pseudoephedrine.

Surgery may be an option if your ear infection is not eliminated with the usual medical treatments or if you have many ear infections over a short period of time. Most often, tubes are placed in the ears to allow fluid to drain out. In cases that involve enlarged adenoids, surgical removal of the adenoids may be necessary.