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, negative pressure, 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:
Your middle ear is the small space behind the eardrum that should be well ventilated by air that passes up from behind the nose through the Eustachian tube. This keeps the middle ear clean, dry, and healthy. 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 and creates the ideal breeding ground for germs.
The 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 will clear up on their own without the need for ear infection treatment. However, there are things you can do to help relieve some of the discomfort of a mild ear infection:
If your symptoms don’t improve or they get worse, you should see your doctor. They may prescribe you antibiotics if your ear infection doesn’t appear to be improving. If your ear infection isn’t resolved with the usual medical treatments or if you experience several ear infections over a short time, your doctor may suggest surgery to drain the fluid.
While it is not possible to prevent all ear infections, there are steps you can take to help avoid future infections:
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