Understanding Ear Infections
An ear infection is one of the most uncomfortable ailments. Whether you are the sufferer, or your child, the ear pain associated with an ear infection can lead to a lot of lost sleep. You may wonder what the cause of an ear infection is, and exactly what goes on during an ear infection. The most common type of ear infection is one located in the middle ear. This is the space behind the eardrum. An ear infection can be an infection all by itself, or can come along with the cold or the flu. Also, middle ear infections are extremely common, especially in children because the middle ear is actually attached to the respiratory tract by something called the eustachian tube. Any germs in the nose of the sinuses can actually climb up this tube and into the middle ear.
Causes of an Ear Infection
The cause of an ear infection is simple. The eustachian tube is meant to keep the middle ear clean and dry. It helps the area stay well ventilated. When this tube gets blocked by drainage, fluid, bacteria, or any other object that does not belong it becomes damp and warm. This is the perfect environment for germs to grow.
Ear Infection Symptoms
Especially when it is your child who you believe might have an ear infection, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms. Some people believe that a tugging of the ear is the first sign, but this is actually not the case. There are a lot of reasons a young child might tug his or her ear. The most common symptoms of an ear infection are:
- Ear pain
- Ongoing distress crying for no apparent reason
- Decreased activity
- A low-grade fever
- A headache
- Loss of appetite
Reoccurring and Chronic Ear Infections
Some may suffer from what is called recurring ear infections. This is generally defined as having an average of six ear infections in a year. This is a case where ear infections will need to be treated by a doctor. A long-term solution may need to be found. There are certain groups of people that are more at risk for developing these chronic ear infections. They include:
- Bottle-fed babies
- Young children who are around other children (like at a day care or preschool)
- People who smoke or live with those who smoke
- Those with a cleft palate
- Those with chronic diseases of the immune system
Contact QuestCare Urgent Care
If you or your child is suffering from a possible ear infection, contact QuestCare Urgent Care today.