Ear infection or medically named ‘acute otitis media’ is an inflammation of the middle ear. The middle ear is placed behind the eardrum. Usually it causes fluid in the middle ear along with bulging eardrum combined with high levels of pain. The eardrum is often punctured and purulent.
Otitis media mostly affects children, especially infants and preschool kids. The reason why children are more exposed to it is that the Eustachian tube is shorter in children than in adults and thus viruses and bacteria are easier to entry and cause the infection. Bacteria like the ‘Streptococcus pneumoniae’ and the ‘Haemophilus influenza’ are responsible for about 85 percent of the infections and viruses for the rest of 15 percent.
The infection is painful but short. Antibiotics are most often prescribed after a right diagnosis has been made.
In infants the most obvious sign is constant crying and irritability. Also, they usually have a fever and trouble sleeping. Doctors argue on whether ear tugging is a valid symptom of an acute otitis.
Fever can be present at children of all age, and usually older children complain on pain in the ear.
Symptoms at both children and adults may include:
- Ear pain or earache
- Drainage from the ear which is thick, yellow or bloody. The reason for this is usually a ruptured eardrum.
- A feeling of persistent pressure in the ear
- Hearing loss in the affected ear
- A child or adult generally feels sick
- Balance loss
- Appetite loss
Shortly after having a cold, the infection may manifest itself. It is a fact that all infections include fluid behind the eardrum. Interestingly, the symptoms may occur in one or both ears.
It is important to react quickly to these symptoms and get the right treatment. If the symptoms last more than a day, or the pain starts to intensify a doctor visit is unavoidable as soon as possible.