Ear infections are very common and affect patients of all ages. Behind your eardrum there is a part of your ear called the middle ear. This part can get an infection if there are any germs stuck inside of there. Many of the germs may come from the throat and the nose.

Causes of a Middle Ear Infection

There is a tube connected between your throat and your ears. This is called the Eustachian tube. If a person has a cold it can cause it to swell. Then they swell it becomes blocked and it could result in fluid being stored inside of the ear. This causes an infection. It's the perfect place for thriving germs and infections. Many children suffer from ear infections because their Eustachian tube is much smaller and it can get blocked easier.

Ear Infection Symptoms

The main symptoms for an earache can range from mild to severe. If a baby or child has had one, they can become very fussy and have difficulty sleeping. Ear infections in children can sometimes result in a fever. Seeing a yellow fluid come from the ear is a common infection. This may happen when the infection has resulted in the eardrum bursting. You shouldn't be worried, this isn't serious. The eardrum has the capacity to heal all on its own. When the fluid starts to build up but doesn’t get infected children may say that they feel as if their ears are "plugged." It could result in difficulty hearing although it returns back to normal after the fluid has gone away. It could take a few weeks for the fluid to drain away completely.

Diagnosis of a Middle Ear Infection

When you go to the doctor they are going to speak to you about your child's symptoms. They will look into the child's ear with a tool. The doctor is looking at the eardrum and the fluid that is stuck behind it. The diagnosis isn't uncomfortable for children at all.

The Treatment

The majority of the ear infections are going to go away all on their own. Antibiotics may be recommended for children who are younger than the age of 2. You have the ability to treat your child at home with Tylenol, a warm cloth and a heating pad. Your child should get a lot of rest. Do not give aspirin to anyone that is younger than 20 years old. The doctor will give the child eardrops to help cope with the pain that sometimes comes with an infection.

After a child has had an infection, they will not be able to hear for some time. You should always call your doctor if this lasts for more than 3 or 4 months. It's very important that children are treated because in order for them to learn how to talk, they need to be able to hear. The doctor may provide the child with antibiotics, although it is likely to get better without the use of them. It is your decision as to whether or not you want to use an antibiotic and it also depends on how bad the infection is. If the child has difficulty hearing or they continue to have infections, it may be required to have minor surgery in which the doctors put tubes into the child's ears.

Ear Infections and Prevention

There are many ways that you can prevent ear infections from happening. A major cause of them is smoking. If children are exposed to secondhand smoke, the fumes can get stuck to their hair and clothes and have an effect on them. A child should never fall asleep while they are sucking on a bottle. Always make sure to limit the use of group child care as well.