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Ear infection originates when sections of the ear behind the eardrum, or the “middle year” is affected by a bacterial or viral disease. The situation can be challenging and uncomfortable because of the fluid building up in the ear and inflammation. Acute ear infections cause pain but have a short duration. Chronic illnesses do not clear up or recur many times. This can cause permanent damage to the middle and inner ear and cause hearing loss.
Ear infections develop as eustachian tubes get swollen or blocked, resulting in fluid build-up in the middle ear. Eustachian pipes run from each ear directly to the back of the throat and are small in size. The blockage of the Eustachian tube happens considering allergies, cold, sinus infections, excess mucus, smoking, infected adenoids, or change in air pressure.
Young children are prone to ear infections as they have short and narrow eustachian tubes. Additional factors that raise the risk of ear infection are altitude changes, climate changes, exposure to cigarette smoke, pacifier use, and recent illness.
Symptoms include mild pain or discomfort in the ear, a feeling of pressure inside the ear, fussiness in infants, pus-like ear drainage, and hearing loss.
These symptoms may persist or come and go and occur in one of the ears. Pain is usually intense when there is an infection in both ears. Signs of a chronic ear infection may be less noticeable than those of acute ear infections.
Children younger than six months should be taken to a doctor if they have fever or exhibit signs of ear infection. Medical attention MUST be inquired if your child has a fever higher than 102 F or severe ear pain.