Ear infections are a common childhood illness, in fact, earaches are one of the top reasons children go to the doctor. It’s safe to say that many of us have experience with the symptoms – ear pain, trouble hearing, fever and more. While adults may also develop an ear infection, they are not as widespread.
Did you know that there is more than one type of ear infection? The most common is Acute Otitis Media; a Middle Ear infection and Otitis Externa (swimmer’s ear); an infection of the ear canal.
What causes an Ear Infection?
Middle Ear Infections occur when an infection, either a virus or bacteria becomes trapped inside an inflamed Eustachian tube. Many times the infection stems from an underlying cause such as the flu, a cold or even allergies. Eustachian tubes in children are much shorter and more horizontal, therefore they are more vulnerable to infection.
Swimmer’s Ear is an infection of the ear canal, most often caused by water remaining in the ear after water activities. The residual water creates the perfect breeding ground for an infection.
Symptoms of an Ear Infection
The most common symptom of an ear infection is ear pain. However, since ear infections are very common in children, including those who are unable to verbalize how they are feeling, it’s important to take note of your child’s overall health when you suspect something may be amiss. An ear infection that is left untreated may result in complications, so it’s very critical to seek medical treatment. The following symptoms may indicate an ear infection:
- ear pain
- unexplained fever
- tugging at ears
- hearing loss
- stuffy nose
- balance issues/dizziness
- ear tenderness/swelling
If you experience any discharge coming from your ear, schedule an appointment immediately with a healthcare provider, as this can be a sign of a serious condition.
ENT and Allergy Specialists have a vast understanding of ear, nose and throat disorders and all of our Board Certified physicians have received specialized training in the unique care of pediatric ENT problems. Schedule an appointment today! 610-415-1100