Usually, middle ear infections are caused by a bacterial or viral infection. This is due to the fact that viruses can easily spread from the upper throat to the middle ear, especially in children. These infections are painful and can interfere with a child’s hearing. Some of the symptoms of middle ear infection are fever, pain, and loss of appetite. Usually, the infection clears up on its own, but some children may have a severe infection that requires the help of a physician.
Middle ear infections can also be caused by allergies. If a child has allergies, the swelling of the upper respiratory tract can lead to an enlarged adenosis, which can block the Eustachian tube, the tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. This can make the eustachian tube become swollen and can lead to an ear infection.
Middle ear infections can also be associated with secondhand smoke. Smoking can weaken a child’s immune system, making him more susceptible to infections. If your child is exposed to secondhand smoke, avoid it, as it can worsen the symptoms of a middle ear infection.
Some children with acute middle ear infections may experience a high fever and be more restless than usual. They may also have a decreased appetite and a difficult time sleeping through the night. They may have trouble hearing and may wake up crying because of the pain. If the pain is severe, your child may need steroids in addition to treatment. A tympanocentesis procedure is an option, which involves a doctor inserting a tube in the middle ear to remove the fluid. This procedure is only performed in extreme cases.
If your child has an ear infection, the doctor may recommend a hearing test. This can help the doctor determine whether your child’s ear is infected and whether the infection is serious. If you decide to get your child’s hearing tested, the doctor may use a pneumatic otoscope to determine whether the eardrum is moving correctly. If there is fluid in the middle ear, the doctor may recommend antibiotics to clear the infection. A pneumatic otoscope uses a lighted lamp to allow the doctor to see inside the ear.
The doctor may also recommend a series of pneumococcal vaccinations. These vaccines protect against the common cause of middle ear infections, Streptococcus pneumonia. These vaccinations should be given to children according to their age. Using these vaccinations is important to protect your child from infections.
In most cases, acute middle ear infections go away on their own within two to three days. If your child’s symptoms do not improve after a week, a visit to the doctor may be necessary. If the infection is severe, the doctor may elect to lance the eardrum.
A middle ear infection can be treated with antibiotics, steroids, and pain relievers. These treatments are effective at treating the infection. It is important to tell your doctor about any medications that you are taking, since some drugs may interfere with antibiotics.