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:
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 or blocked 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 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.
If you have a mild ear infection, then you should find that it goes away on its own without the need for any intervention or ear infection treatment. But however mild the infection might be, it can still be uncomfortable or in some cases, extremely painful. There are some simple things you can do to reduce the discomfort of an ear infection while you wait for it to clear up:
If you find that there’s no change in your symptoms or you feel they have got worse, you should arrange to see a doctor as soon as possible who may prescribe antibiotics. If after antibiotics there is still no improvement or you have had several ear infections in a short period of time, then surgery may be recommended 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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