If you’ve had an ear infection, you will know just how painful they can be, and that is due to a build-up of fluid and inflammation in the middle ear. Ear infections can be acute, which are usually only short-term but very painful or chronic which can cause permanent damage to the middle ear and can either recur many times or don’t clear up.
There are several types of ear infection, including:
An ear infection can occur when one of your Eustachian tubes becomes blocked or swollen which causes fluid to build up in your middle ear. Your Eustachian tubes run from each ear directly to the back of the throat. A Eustachian tube can become blocked as a result of:
Some of the most common ear infection symptoms are:
These symptoms can occur in one or both ears and can either come and go or may persist. You will likely experience more severe pain if you have an infection in both ears. Symptoms of a chronic ear infection are often less noticeable than symptoms of an acute ear infection.
Most mild ear infections don’t require ear infection treatment and will clear up on their own without any intervention. But there are some things you can do to reduce any pain or discomfort you may experience:
If you find that your symptoms don’t improve or they seem to have got worse, it’s a good idea to get checked out by your doctor. They may prescribe you a course of antibiotics if the infection doesn’t seem to be improving. If antibiotics or other medical treatments don’t clear the infection or if you find that you have many ear infections over a short period, it may be recommended that you have surgery to drain the fluid.
Not all ear infections can be prevented, but there are some simple things you can do to help reduce your chance of getting an ear infection in the future. For example:
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