Otitis media infection and inflammation
What is otitis?
Otitis is an inflammation of the ear. This inflammation can affect the middle ear or part of the ear behind the eardrum. (Otitis media) or it can affect the outer ear, which is the channel that runs from the ear to the eardrum, (external otitis or swimmer’s ear).
Otitis media is an infection that primarily affects children, especially up to three years. It occurs primarily in winter and spring, with the appearance of asthma and contagious respiratory diseases, especially when children share common places with other children, such as in nurseries.
Otitis itself is not contagious, but the causes that generally produce it really are.
Types of otitis
There are two types of otitis media:
– Acute otitis media: I is a very painful short-term affection.
– Chronic otitis media: It is a long-term affection.
Although otitis is not a serious life-threatening disease, it is very painful and must be properly treated. T
his is also necessary to prevent some possible complications, such as your eardrums to become perforated, your tonsils become inflamed or your acute otitis to become chronic.
Unattended otitis may also be responsible for mastoiditis (infection of the mastoid process, a type of bone behind the ear) or for meningitis inflammation of the meninges, which are the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord)
Symptoms of otitis
The main symptoms of otitis are: cold, ear itching, heaviness, pressure on the eardrum, earache, swelling, redness, pus, foul smelling ear discharge, hearing loss, fever, blood, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
Causes of otitis
The main causes of otitis include:
– Allergies: Certain allergies cause inflammation of the eustachian tube which is the channel that connects the middle ear and throat, acting as a drainage channel. This makes the middle ear to be obstructed and do not let any middle ear fluid to get out. Therefore, this retention facilitates the formation of infections in the ear.
– Irritant products: Some irritant products, such as tobacco, aggressive soaps or hair champus, can irritate the middle ear causing otitis.
– Excessive saliva or mucus: An excessive production of saliva or mucus can block the middle ear making infections more possible.
Some reasons are not the direct reasons of otitis, but they may predispose to its onset, such as ear infections, general body infections, genetic predisposition, cold climate, high altitude above sea level changes, or baby’s dummy use.
It has also been proved that children attended during the day while their parents are at work or bottlefeed children are more likely to suffer from otitis.
Diagnoses and treatment of otitis
With the emergence of some of the symptoms seen above, you should visit your doctor who will be abe to diagnose the causes of infection. This is generally performed with an examination of your ear, lungs throat, or nose . Using a otoscope, the doctor can see if your ear is infected or, even worse, if your eardrum is damaged or perforated.
In most cases, otitis derives from ear infections which are generally produced by bacteria or viruses. Those produce by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Your doctor can prescribe you some analgesic to relieve your pain.
In children persistent otitis, medical assistant may need of ear tube insertion to allow fluids get out from the ear through Eustachian tubes. In case of swollen adenoids, surgical removal could be necessary.
A quick visit should be done especially if there is suppuration, blood flow, hearing loss, ear swelling or fever. You should do the same if you are dizzy or suffer from strong headache, if you do not find any improvement or if your otitis worsens in one or two days.
A sudden stop of pain in the ear may indicate a perforated eardrum, so, if you happen to experience this abrupt change of earache instead of a gradual diminishing of pain, you should also visit your doctor as soon as possible.
More information about otitis.
23 May, 2020