Ear infections are the bane of childhood and can spoil many outdoor adventures. One of the most common infections of childhood, they provoke long nights of miserable children, sleepless parents, and unhappiness all around. They may be recurrent, and can also progress (rarely) to more serious medical problems, such as meningitis.
What Are Ear Infections?
Acute otitis (inflammation of the ear) media (“middle”) infection is caused by bacteria or viruses. When it occurs, there is redness and inflammation of the eardrum, frequently with a collection of blood, serum, or pus behind the drum. To know whether or not this has occurred, and to precisely determine the anatomic diagnosis and severity, one needs to see the eardrum, which is what the healthcare provider does with an otoscope.
With otitis media (middle ear infection), there is no drainage from the external ear canal (unless the eardrum ruptures, which is unusual in an adult and more common in a child) and the victim has a fever, sometimes with an accompanying sore throat. In many cases, the victim has a history of prior similar ear infections. Most often, otitis media occurs in children; when it occurs in an adult, it may be associated with a sinus infection or functional obstruction of the eustachian tube (the pressure-release mechanism from the middle ear into the throat).
It is interesting to note that children who chew Read more »
This post, One Of The Most Common Infections Of Childhood: Otitis Media, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..