Middle ear infection – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Thursday, May 17, 2018 by

Otitis media (middle ear infection) is a bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear. It causes inflammation and fluid buildup within the internal spaces of the ear.

Acute otitis media occurs when there’s infection of the fluid in the middle ear, which causes production of pus, while chronic otitis media occurs when the eustachian tube becomes blocked repeatedly due to allergies, multiple infections, ear trauma or swelling of adenoids. Chronic ear infections may lead to permanent ear damage.

Ear infections can be painful because of the inflammation and fluid buildup which increase pressure on the eardrum. However, most ear infections improve without treatment.

Otitis media is the most common reason why children visit a physician. Around 75 percent of young children will have at least one ear infection before they reach three years of age. It is more common in young boys than young girls.

Places where a large number of children are together, like daycare centers, help spread the infection more easily. Respiratory infections, allergies and second-hand cigarette smoke increase the risk for ear infections.

Ear infections are also known as glue ear, secretory otitis media, or serous otitis media.

Known risk factors and symptoms of middle ear infection

The likelihood of developing ear infections increases with the following risk factors:

  • Allergies
  • Birth defects
  • Bottle-feeding
  • Ear infections later in childhood
  • Exposure to air pollutants
  • Immunosuppressed
  • Second-hand cigarette smoke
  • Upper respiratory tract infection

The signs and symptoms of ear infections include:

  • Earache – Mild to severe pain in the ear or pulling at the ear and irritability in an infant/young child
  • Fever – Might be the only symptom in babies or young children
  • Mild deafness – Caused by fluid buildup
  • Ear discharge – Happens when the eardrum bursts due to pressure behind it.

Babies and toddlers start with pulling or scratching at the ear, along with hearing problems, fever, discharge from the ear, irritability, and vomiting.

In older children and adults, symptoms include earache, hearing problems, pressure in the ear, fever, discharge from the ear, dizziness and loss of balance, and nausea or vomiting. Children usually recover from mild infections in three to five hours, although your child may feel tired afterwards.

Lower your child’s risk of getting ear infections with the tips below:

  • Avoid smoky environments.
  • For bottle-feeding, hold the bottle yourself and have your baby sit up or semi-upright while feeding.
  • Keep your child’s immunizations up-to-date.
  • Wash your hands and your child’s hands frequently.
  • Wean your child off the bottle and from the pacifier when he/she turns one year old.

Body systems harmed by middle ear infection

Complications resulting from ear infections can occur, albeit rare. Here are some complications associated with middle ear infections:

  • Cholesteatoma
  • Eardrum perforation (hole in the eardrum)
  • Infection that spreads to the bones of the ear
  • Infection that spreads to the fluid around the brain and spinal cord
  • Mastoiditis
  • Permanent hearing loss
  • Ruptured eardrums

Food items or nutrients that may prevent middle ear infection

One of the risk factors for developing middle ear infections is bottle-feeding. However, breastfeeding isn’t always easy, and you can’t force your baby to breastfeed. Pump some breast milk for your baby as an alternative; breast milk contains all the nutrients that your baby needs to jump-start their immune system into fighting off infections.

You can also give older children foods rich in probiotics (live good bacteria) to help strengthen the immune system.

Treatments, management plans for middle ear infection

There are some integrative therapies available for treating middle ear infections, including:

  • Belladonna
  • Calendula
  • Lavender
  • Mullein
  • St. John’s Wort

The following are some of the common natural remedies for treating ear infections:

  • Garlic oil
  • Basil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/rice
  • Tea tree oil
  • Warm water bottle/warm compress

Where to learn more

Summary

Middle ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection which causes inflammation and fluid buildup within the internal spaces of the ear.

Around 75 percent of young children will have at least one ear infection before they reach three years of age. It is more common in young boys than young girls.

Respiratory infections, bottle-feeding, allergies and second-hand cigarette smoke increase the risk for ear infections.

Sources include:

MedicalNewsToday.com

MedicineNet.com

BetterHealth.vic.gov.au

Medtronic.com

Healthline.com

HuffingtonPost.com

Top10HomeRemedies.com

SimplyGoodNaturalFoods.com



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