A significant source of discomfort during cold and flu season stems from an all too common medical issue. Ear infections are a painful illness, and the leading reason parents seek professional medical care for their children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are three main types of ear infections: otitis media, otitis media with effusion and otitis externa which is the most common type and also known by a simpler name, swimmer’s ear. Any of these three types of ear infections can cause aching pain affecting either the outer or inner ear. By far the most common in children, ear infections can be caused by a variety of factors. Such influences include age, family history, allergies, colds, weakened immune systems, various birth defects, and other medical conditions. Young children under the age of three are the most susceptible to ear infections.
WHAT CAUSES AN EAR INFECTION?
Otitis externa or swimmer’s ear is an infection caused from bacteria growing in a dark and wet environment. Trapped water in the ear canal from swimming or a shower is usually the cause. Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear from an area that is located right behind the ear drum. This type of infection is most often the result of a cold or respiratory infection that transfers bacteria into the middle ear via the eustachian tube. Otitis media is caused when the tube of the inner ear is clogged with mucus and fluid leading to one of the most easily identifiable symptoms of an ear infection, swelling. This clogging of fluid within the inner ear is what later can cause otitis media with effusion which indicates that fluid remains trapped in the ear. This particular type of ear infection can be terribly painful.
SYMPTOMS OF EAR INFECTIONS
All three types of ear infections share similar indications depending on the location and severity of the condition as well as the age and family history of the individual. These symptoms include an earache, pain, fever, hearing loss, and observed drainage from the infected ear. Headaches and neck aches are also common in many cases of ear infections. A common issue that arises with children who may have an ear infection is the inability to describe what’s wrong, a clear indication that a trip to a pediatrician or an urgent clinic like Urgent Clinics Medical Care is necessary. This struggle to identify what hurts may be accompanied by crying, fussy behavior, tugging at the ear, loss of sleep and a severely reduced appetite as the chewing motion will usually irritate the ear infection further from movement and disruption of the ear canal.
Urgent Clinics Medical Care is staffed with professional healthcare providers who perform diagnostic tests to determine the exact source of discomfort. Just walk into any of our convenient locations in the Houston area including Pearland, Champions, The Woodlands and 3 locations in League City: Creekside, Marina Bay and Tuscan Lakes. Upon diagnosis, our medical team can recommend a course of beneficial treatment to provide quick relief for ear infection issues.