|Ear Infections - Causes and Prevention|
Have you ever heard, that if your ears are ringing, someone must be talking about youall It could be good news, bad news or plain old gossip. However, your itchy ear canal or earache is most likely an ear infection. Your next step will be a visit to your doctor and they will examine your inner ear with an otoscope. They will look for red irritation, the condition of the eardrum, and all the earwax.
Middle ear infections are the most common ear infection, because there is a small tube connecting the ear to the throat. This tube can swell and become congested that can trap fluid. This environment creates a place for germs to spread and cause an infection. And since children's ears are smaller, their tubes are smaller and therefore more easily clogged. So if your throat is scratchy, your ears may become inflamed also.
In baby's you make notice that they may tug at their ears, be fussy, cry, have a fever, or have trouble sleeping, all which indicate an ear infection. While a discharge of thick yellow fluid coming from a burst eardrum, seems serious, actually relieve the pressure and may make the pain go away. The eardrum will heal in time. As children age, they may complain about their ears being clogged and have a hard time hearing. This condition may last about two weeks until the fluid dissipates.
If you are a swimmer, triathlete, or ironman, you may get swimmers ear (otitis externa). Approximately 10% of the population is inflicted by this infection.
Inner ear infections called Labyrinthitis is usually caused by a viral infection, which can cause vertigo, which is a spinning feeling. Labyrinthitis may also cause hearing loss and a ringing sound in your ears (tinnitus).
Overtime, most ear infections heal own their own. In the meantime, a heating pad on the ear may relax the pain. Your doctor or pharmacist may recommend a pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help the symptoms. The doctor may also prescribe eardrops for the pain, and antibiotics depending on the age and severity of the infection. If infections persist, your doctor may put tubes in the ears to keep the canal open with minor surgery.
Here are some suggestions to keep ear infections at bay. If you smoke, just stop. The remnants of smoke in your hair or clothes still have an affect on children. Maintain good hand washing protocols. Immunization can help also reduce ear infections. Your doctor may use an examination tool called an otoscope, such as the MacroView Otoscope to check your ears. Basically an otoscope is a magnifying glass, and is used to examine your body cavities like your throat or ears. Just make sure that the doctor changes the probe cover to make sure that the infected ear does not infect the other ear. And if you have a fever also, the doctor may a thermometer such as the Braun ThermoScan Pro 4000 Ear Thermometer.
Many people have earwax buildup, and will need to remove it safely. There are many ways to remove earwax. While using a cotton swab for the outer ear, using it in the ear canal can compact the earwax further into the canal. Many doctors recommend using Debrox or Murine, which are earwax softeners. After the recommended use, the wax will eventually fall out or using a bulb or piston syringe with warm water to flush out that nasty wax. Some healthcare professionals use an ear wash system such as Welch Allyn's Ear Wash System.
Always consult with your healthcare team with any questions regarding your health. Stay Well!