Get straight forward information on Otitis media and measures you can take to prevent it from attacking...
Almost every child suffers some form of ear infection before they're 6 year old. Just before they are 3 years old, more than 75 percent of children experience some form of ear disorder, and twice or more as much after this age.
In definition, otitis media refers to the inflammation or infection of the middle ear (behind the ear drum) which results from the spreading of other bacterial or viral infections (like sinusitis) that cause colds, sore throats and breathing problems. Otitis usually affects one ear, but it can also affect both ears at the same time. Middle ear infections often last for at least 2 - 3 days.
Otitis media, a problematic ear infection commonly known as middle ear infection, is more prevalent in children than adults for various reasons:
- Children under the age of 7 have poor immune system because they it is still developing.
- A child's Eustachian tube is more prone to blockage due to its narrowness... And a child's tubes are shorter than that of an adult which allows bacteria to invade their middle ear more easily.
- Kids' adenoids (structures located near the Eustachian tubes in the back of the upper throat) often interfere with opening of the Eustachian tube because they are large.
Bacterial or viral infection
As mentioned earlier on, otitis media often follows other infections that spread to the middle ear via the Eustachian tube. When the Eustachian tube become blocked due to a cold, nasal or throat infection, tonsillitis fluids build up in the ear drum. The eardrum may become swollen when bacteria or a virus infects the collection of fluids in the eardrum, causing severe ear pain.
Children's Eustachian tubes are very narrow and quickly obstruct when they have the flu or other respiratory disorders. This is another reason why otitis is more prevalent in children than in adults.
Other factors that may cause otitis media include:
- First or secondhand cigarette smoke may put anyone at risk of severe health problems, including an ear infection, if inhaled.
- Allergy problems such as hayfever, sinusitis and throat infection may also result in an ear infection when they spread to the middle ear via the Eustachian tube.
- Wrong usage of ear buds may also result in irritation of the eardrum.
- Unintended hair spray that enters into the ear canal (meatus).
- Water that gets into your ears when showering, bathing or swimming.
- Although otitis is not contagious, previous family history of ear infections is said to somehow contribute to ear infections.
- Bottle-feeding often requires a baby to lie down or bend the head upwards, and this makes the food overflow to the Eustachian tube, leading to ear infection.
People who are more cautious about their nasal and throat conditions are less likely to fall on the risk of middle ear infection.
|Here are signs and symptoms of otitis media
In most cases, especially in children otitis media is not easily detected due to their inability to explain or identify what bothers them. However, Otitis media and other ear infections are generally signified by pain, discomfort and itchiness in the area of the ear. Common signs that may suggest otitis media in children includes:
- Ear discharge
- Balance loss
- Unusual irritability
- Sudden and temporal hearing impairment
- Sleeplessness or difficulty sleeping
In most patients, ear infections may only lasts up to 3 - 5 days, but the hearing impairment may vanish a week after the actual infection. Even though it is more prevalent in children and referred to as children's ear infections, otitis media can also affect adults, in fact people of all ages.
|There are two types of Otitis media
Summarized here are two types of otitis media:
Acute otitis media
Acute otitis media is the most common form of middle ear infection caused by the presence of excessive fluids in the ear. Its symptoms are pain, possible a light fever, as well as the change of the color of the eardrum (usually becomes red).
Otitis media with effusion
When fluids in the middle ear persist for 6 or more weeks, or when there is fluids that's not infected, otitis media is perceived in that regard as being chronic in nature. This condition is therefore called otitis media with effusion.
It is vitally important that the difference between these two forms of otitis media is distinguished to ensure that the right treatment options are followed. This is because some form of otitis may worsen when antibiotics are taken as treatment option. Click here to learn more preventing otitis media with effusion.