What Causes an Ear Infection?

April 15, 2021

What Causes an Ear Infection?- AFC Urgent Care

Did you know? Except for wellness baby visits, ear infections are the most common reason for trips to the pediatrician, accounting for approximately 30 million doctor visits a year in the United States!

So, what makes these infections so common? Our AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail team has some answers, so keep reading!

What Are Ear Infections in the First Place?

An ear infection, or otitis media, happens when bacteria or other viral particles harm and cause pain to the middle ear. Although this condition is a frequent cause of infant distress and is often associated with children, it can also affect adults.

We’ve listed the common symptoms of ear infections in both children and adults below.

Common Symptoms of Ear Infections

  • Ear pain, especially when lying down
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
  • Loss of balance
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Headache
  • Nausea

What Causes Ear Infections?

Although there are two other types of ear infections (inner and outer), the middle ear infection is the most common. In this type of infection, the middle ear doesn’t get enough fresh air from the Eustachian tube.

Normally, the air in your 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.

Ear Infection Home Remedies for Children

  • Warm compress. Holding a moist compress over your child’s ear for about 10 to 15 minutes can help reduce pain.
  • Acetaminophen. If your baby is older than 6 months, acetaminophen may help relieve pain and fever.
  • Warm oil. If there is no fluid draining from your child’s ear and a ruptured eardrum isn’t suspected, place a few drops of room temperature or slightly warmed olive oil or sesame oil in the affected ear.
  • Elevate your child’s head. Slightly elevating your child’s head will improve sinus drainage.

If you believe you or your child has an ear infection, don’t wait to get the necessary medical care at our AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail center!

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