Are Ear Infections Dangerous?

April 15, 2021

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Although ear infections are especially common among children below the age of 3, it doesn’t make them any less serious. When left untreated, chronic ear infections can cause long-term health complications for your child. When these infections are treated effectively and quickly, however, they shouldn’t be much cause for concern.

Read on as our team at AFC Urgent Care Knoxville shares some more info about these common infections.

What Causes An Ear Infection?

There are technically three different types of ear infections (inner, middle and outer), but the most common type of ear infection among children is the infection of the middle ear. In this type of infection, the middle ear doesn’t get enough fresh air from the Eustachian tube.

Normally, the air in your child’s middle ear is passed through the Eustachian tube, which keeps the middle ear clean and dry. However, when there is not enough fresh air ventilating the middle ear, such as when the Eustachian tube is clogged or blocked, the area becomes damp, stagnant and warm, creating a perfect breeding ground for germs.

Common Ear Infection Symptoms Among Children

  • Ear pain, especially when lying down
  • Tugging or pulling at an ear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Crying more than usual
  • Fussiness
  • Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever of 100 F or higher
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite

How Dangerous Are Ear Infections?

Chronic ear infections can lead to more health complications than occasional ear infections. Although most infections are viral and go away on their own after three days or so, it’s still worth it to see a doctor to get the necessary treatment for your child.

Not only will your doctor likely prescribe antibiotics to get rid of the infection, but visiting a doctor will likely help reduce your child’s earaches as well. Having said all of that, leaving an ear infection untreated is not good for your child’s health. We’ve listed some potential health complications below.

Potential Health Complications Caused By Untreated Ear Infections

  • Mastoiditis (a rare inflammation of a bone adjacent to the ear)
  • Hearing loss
  • Perforation of the eardrum
  • Meningitis
  • Facial nerve paralysis

Do you believe your child has an ear infection? If so, don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Knoxvilleteam today.

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