If you have ever had an ear infection, you will likely know just how painful an ear infection can be. Alongside the pain and discomfort, an ear infection can also affect your hearing.
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.
An ear infection can occur due to inflammation or a build-up of fluid in the middle ear. It can also happen when one of your Eustachian tubes, which run from each ear directly to the back of your throat, becomes blocked or swollen or blocked, causing fluid to build up in your middle ear, creating the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
A Eustachian tube can become blocked as a result of:
There are several types of ear infection, including:
Some of the most ear infection symptoms are:
In most cases, relatively mild ear infections will clear up by themselves without the need for any ear infection treatment. However, even a mild ear infection can be uncomfortable and sometimes even painful, but there are simple things you can do to relieve any discomfort you may experience, for example:
If you find that there’s no change in your symptoms or they get worse, you should see your doctor. They may prescribe a course of antibiotics if they feel your ear infection has gone on too long with no signs of improvement. However, if your ear infection still doesn’t resolve itself or if you have a number of ear infections in a short amount of time, your doctor may recommend surgery to drain the fluid.
Not all ear infections can be prevented. But there are some things you can do help reduce your risk of an infection in the future:
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