Ear Infection

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Overview

Ear infection refers to the infection of the middle ear. This is the part of the ear present in the skull. The infection is either bacterial or viral. Ear infections are usually very painful, because of the inflammation and fluid buildup in the ear.

Causes

Ear infections are usually due to bacterial or viral infections of the nasal passages and throat. The nasal passages and throat get congested, and through the Eustachian tube the infection spreads from the throat to the middle ear.

Symptoms

  • The following are the signs and symptoms of ear infection:
  • Pain in the ear, more on lying down
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Crying and acting more irritable then usual
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Fever
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear

Diagnosis

Although an adequate history and examination with an otoscope are sufficient to diagnose ear infections, some of the following tools and methods can also be helpful:

  • Pneumatic otoscope
  • Tympanometry
  • Acoustic reflectometry
  • Tympanocentesis

Treatment

Treatment is not always necessary, as sometimes the symptoms resolve on their own within a few days. In such cases, the only goal is pain management via Analgesics.

However, sometimes if the symptoms persist, the patient is treated with antibiotics, to eliminate the infection.

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