Ear Infection: Here's Everything You Need To Know
Ear infections can be acute or chronic. Cold, sinus, mucus secretion, change in air pressure can lead to ear infection. Read here to know all about ear infection.
Ear infection can lead to pain in ear, dizziness, hearing changes and fever
- Ear infection can lead to discharge of fluids from the ears
- Consult a doctor if there is redness near the ear
- Avoid smoking to prevent ear infections
Are you facing troubled sleep or pain in the ear while lying down? Do you have trouble in hearing feeble sounds? These symptoms can be the signs of an ear infection. Ear infection is one of the common viral infections occurring during winter season, which affects adults and children. This infection is caused due to the cold and infection in upper respiratory airway and can lead to multiple symptoms.
The weather conditions can often facilitate the growth of bacteria, and hence aid the spread viruses, during winter season which can cause infection eventually lead to infection in the ears. The cold weather leads to bacterial infection and upper respiratory infection among children in cold weather whereas adults mostly face a fungal infection. The humidity in the atmosphere is mostly favorable for the fungi to multiply. Children are more susceptible to develop ear infection compared to adults.
All about ear infection
Ear infections can be acute or chronic. Acute ear infection may be painful and can affect the person for a short duration whereas chronic ear infection lasts for long duration, can recur and may lead to permanent damage to the middle and inner ear.
What causes ear infection?
Cold, sinus, mucus secretion, change in air pressure can lead to ear infection. Apart from these, certain kind of allergies, smoking, swollen adenoids can also result in developing ear infection. With the current work from home scenario, increased usage of ear-phones is also leading to ear infections.
Symptoms of ear infection:
People suffering from winter related ear infection will mostly suffer from ear pain especially when they are exposed to the cold blast of air. The cold air can block the ear leading to shooting pain. Other than pain, there may be additional symptoms, some of them are listed here:
- A feeling of persisting pressure inside the ear
- Tenderness to touch
- Hearing changes
- Discharge of fluids from the ears
Kids suffering from ear infection will be fussy and cry more often without any reasons.
Identifying ear infection:
Ear infection might go unnoticed in the initial days if the symptoms are not severe. It is important to visit the doctor for the ear infection before it spreads to other parts of the ear. Reoccurring ear infections can lead to severe complications like impaired hearing, spread of infections, delay in speech among infants and tearing of the eardrums.
When to visit your doctor:
- If you have severe ear pain and the pain continues for more than 1-2 days
- Any discharge of fluids in the ear or pus formation
- When there is continuous irritation in the ear
- Kids who are unable to sleep or have trouble in sleeping
- Redness near the ear
Also read: Can Headphones Damage Your Hearing?
Prevention of ear infections:
Prevent common cold - Take necessary precautions to avoid cold in the season. Wear warm clothes and keep your ears covered to prevent exposing it to the cold air.
Avoid smoking - Smoking can make the ear tubes inflamed. Therefore, quit smoking
Limit ear phone usage - Limit your usage of ear phones. Do not wear the ear phones or ear pods continuously the entire day.
Breastfeeding - Breastfeeding is one of the important factors to keep any infections at bay among infants.
Vaccination - Regular vaccination like flu shots to the kids can help in preventing many infections
Visit your ENT specialist as soon as you develop any discomfort in your ear. Hospitals are taking all the necessary precautions for the safety of the patients.
(Dr. Santosh Sivaswamy is a Consultant - ENT at Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal)
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