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Nasty Infectious Diseases You Want To Avoid - Ear Infection

Updated on December 31, 2008

 

This is the much more common nomenclature for the disease of otitis media, which an infection that affects the middle ear, which is the cavity between the inner ear and the eardrum. A middle-ear infection can create fluid or pus and cause serious earache and end up in a loss of hearing. While ear infections can be extremely annoying, they are generally not overly serious and can usually be easily treated leading to an absence of any long term complications.

Ear infections quite common in children due to the fact that they have very short eustachian tubes, which are the passageways that connect the back of the nose cavity to the middle ear. The shortness of these tubes makes it easier for bacteria to enter the ear from the back of the throat. Research has shown that the vast majority of all children have been infected by the time they are six years old. Children are most likely to suffer from ear infections in the first couple of years of their lives.

Cause - During the process of a common cold, the eustachian tube can become swelled and get blocked, which will allow fluid to pool up in the middle ear. The ear that is filled with fluid can become seriously infected. The primary cause of a middle-ear infection is bacteria that are generally located in a child's throat, including Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Moraxella catarrhalis.

Symptoms - Severe middle-ear infection can cause serious and suddenly occurring earache, a sense of fullness in the ear, ringing of the ear (also known as tinnitus), and fever. These symptoms can actually lead to deafness. In rare cases the eardrum can actually burst apart, which then creates a discharge of pus which also leads to relief from the pain. Chronic infection of the middle ear infection is primarily caused by several repeated events of acute otitis media, which has pus pouring from a signficant perforation in the eardrum along with deafness to some degree. In extremely rare cases the infection can spread from the infected middle ear towards the center of the skull and cause a brain abscess.

Diagnosis - Middle-ear infection is fairly easy to detect through an examination of the ear with an specialized medical instrument called an otoscope. A sample of the discharge which has seeped from the ear may be utilized for the identification of the organism responsible for this particular infection, however, this is a process which is not very often executed.

Treatment - Severe middle-ear infection is generally eradicated completely with antibiotic drugs such as amoxicillin, although in some specific cases there may be a continued creation of a sticky fluid in the middle ear. This is known as a "persistent middle-ear infection." The attending physician may also remove pus and debris of skin, and prescribe that antibiotic ear drops be used on a regular basis. Ephedrine nose drops have been proven to be effective in assisting in the process of draining of the ear of children. Acetaminophen can be prescribed in order to relieve pain or for the specific purpose of reducing high fevers.

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