Symptoms Of Ear Infection

Symptoms Of Ear Infection

On hot summer days, many of us want to plunge into the cool water. And we rush who – where: some to nearby ponds, rivers, lakes, and some to distant seas. But few people think that their ears, noses, and throat may be affected. In this article, we will give you a complete guide about the symptoms of ear infection. In the summer, the number of patients seeking help from otolaryngologists increases sharply.

How so? – you ask. We have already talked a lot about various infections on our site pages, including those found in various waters. So it turns out that you swam, dived, the infection along with a small amount of water got into your ear. The liquid stagnated, the inflammatory process began to develop. Otitis media is a disease based on the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the middle ear. Otitis media is of several types, depending on which part of your ear it affected: the outer and middle.

Symptoms of Ear Infection: Otitis symptoms

Otitis externa clinically manifests itself with intense painful symptoms evoked by pressure or traction in correspondence with the auricle. But sometimes also spontaneously. Such as itching and pain in the jaw movements of chewing. Patients may also experience manifestations such as hearing loss, ear muffling, and discharge of sero-purulent secretions from the outer ear.

What are the causes?: Symptoms Of Ear Infection

As specialists explain, the main cause of otitis externa is an infection caused by bacteria, fungi, or, in rarer cases, viruses. The high temperatures and the humid climate typical of summer, together with local or systemic diseases. Such as dermatitis, diabetes, and autoimmune or autoinflammatory diseases. Make the skin of the duct more sensitive to the aggression of pathogens. They can become complicated with a cranial nerve deficit that can also lead to facial palsy and hearing loss.

Precautions and therapies to treat otitis externa

In-ear pain, the first precaution to take is not to wet it and avoid water entering the duct. Whether it is bathing in the sea, bathing in the pool, or simple showers. Medical therapy, on the other hand, varies according to the extent of the clinical picture. And the presence or absence of perforation of the tympanic membrane. Local therapy with the washing of the ear canal will be sufficient. However, these drugs can be potentially harmful to the inner ear.

On the other hand, the clinical picture is more compromised and the edema of the duct’s skin. Does not allow the passage of topical therapy, or in the case of viral infection. On the other hand, in relapsing cases, the specialists concluded. It may be necessary to carry out an ear swab to search for the germ responsible for the infection. To identify the most effective therapy.

How to cure it: symptoms of ear infection

In the presence of symptoms, it is important to intervene quickly to prevent the pain from amplifying. And lasting for several days, interrupting the daily serenity. In these cases, it is advisable to go to the specialist doctor, otolorinolarigoiatra. Usually, the treatment involves the ear installation, therefore local, antibiotic and/or cortisone, following the doctor’s instructions.

Symptoms of Ear Infection: How to prevent

There are several remedies to prevent the onset of external otitis. When symptoms of ear infection appear, avoid using wax plugs or other material that prevents skin ventilation and slows healing. It is always advisable to avoid an “aggressive” ear hygiene attitude. Not everyone knows that cerumen, a substance produced by some skin glands of the external ear. Formed by fats, proteins, and organic salts have a protective action against the ear canal’s skin. Making it waterproof and protective against microorganisms (bacteria and fungi). In fact, aggressive ear cleaning often leads to an increase in ear wax production.

It is advisable to avoid aggressive cleaning means such as sprays, wax cones, and sticks with or without cotton wool. To clean the ear, use water as we use it for normal face and hand hygiene. After washing, dry the ear gently with a towel or let it dry on its own for regular visitors to swimming pools and prone to ear infections. It is advisable to avoid using wax plugs. On the other hand, for those who often go to the sea and are prone to ear infections, it is useful to observe pauses between one bath and another to dry the ear.

Symptoms of Ear infection: Otitis media

Otitis media is an inflammation of the middle ear, typical of childhood. The most common variant of all is the acute one. According to the Guidelines for Acute Otitis Media (AOM), it is one of the most frequent pediatric diseases. It is estimated that about 85% of children have at least one episode of AOM and that 46% will have at least three forms of otitis by the first 3 years of life (Acute Recurrent Otitis Media-OMAR).

The frequency peak is recorded within 2 years. The incidence subsequently decreases until it reaches values ​​similar to those of adults, around the 5-6th year of life. AOM in younger children is because of the Eustachian tubes. The middle ear with the nasopharynx is more horizontal, shorter, and more open; these characteristics favour the reflux of secretions present in the nasopharynx and local infection. In the forms of bacterial origin, the three most frequent germs are:

The forms caused by Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella cathedral s are characterized by a high tendency to spontaneous healing, in 50% and 80% of cases, respectively, and by the ability to cause inflammation of the middle ear of lesser severity; more difficult to treat are the forms caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae which provide for a targeted therapeutic strategy.

What are the symptoms?

It is common for acute otitis media to be the consequence of a cold or flu. In these cases, the Eustachian tube fills with infected mucus, inflaming the area behind the eardrum membrane and giving rise to seromucous otitis media. Symptoms can appear suddenly and, especially in infants and young children, can be difficult to identify. Frequently appear ear pain, intense pain in the ear; temperature; otorrhea, consisting in the leakage from the ear of abundant secretion.

In children under 2 years of age, symptoms may occur. Those are unlikely to be attributable to the presence of otitis: intense irritability, crying, vomiting, inappetence, and sleep disturbances, up to lethargy. It is also common to feel a sense of muffling, the same sensation you get when you put your head in the water, or the autophony, an annoying sensation of rumbling. Perceives when you cover your ear with a shell.

How to cure it: Symptoms Of Ear Infection

For several years now, the strategy of “watchful waiting” in children with AOM over the age of 2 has been proposed nationally and internationally. In the period of “watchful waiting,” lasting 48-72 hours, it is good practice to avoid antibiotics administration except when the symptoms of ear infection during this time do not show a clear worsening. Instead, it is advisable always to administer a pain reliever for pain control. And not limit yourself to the administration “as needed.”

Parents, or those who take care of the child, must be informed in detail and in writing about the evolution and management methods of AOM. If the child has a significant worsening of symptoms during this period, it is advisable to contact your pediatrician. After the 48-72 hour period of “watchful waiting.” In the event of a worsening of the clinical picture.  Who will provide treatment with a targeted antibiotic? On the other hand, it is advisable to take the child urgently to the hospital in case. There is the appearance of a suspected complication such as facial paralysis and mastoiditis.

Asthma, bronchopneumonia, or excessive secretion from the ear due to perforation of the tympanic membrane. When the presence of discharge from the ear persists for more than 3 months. And in the presence of a suspected hearing loss for more than 3 months.

How to prevent acute otitis media and recurrent acute otitis media

The guidelines of the AOM and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have been established. That to reduce the appearance of acute otitis media, it is appropriate to adopt some behavioural rules:

  • promoting breastfeeding for the first 6 months drastically reduces the risk of AOM compared to babies. Who have been fed exclusively with artificial milk;
  • avoid exposure of the child to cigarette smoke;
  • reduce pacifier use. Its excessive use increases the reflux of nasopharyngeal secretions in the middle ear favouring the entry of pathogens;
  • limit the use of baby bottles and push & pull bottles in the supine position.

It is a good idea to teach your child to wash their hands with soap. And water after using the bathroom, before eating, and when their hands are obviously dirty.

How does otitis media evolve?: Symptoms Of Ear Infection

Most of the time, the otitis heals by itself. Sometimes, however, the inflammation “vents” to the outside: mucus and pus come out through a perforation of the eardrum, a phenomenon. That is not serious and, on the contrary, causes the immediate end of the pain and facilitates the healing process. In fact, the eardrum is just a piece of skin and, like all the skin that covers our body. If it breaks at one point, it tends to close and heal (this is what happens in perforating otitis).

What “not” must be done to cure otitis?

It is unnecessary to administer antihistamines, mucolytics by mouth or aerosol, nasal decongestant drops, or ear drops. All these drugs are absolutely ineffective. It is also absolutely useless to cover the sick ear with hats and scarves. The inflammation comes from inside the skull and does not depend on the external temperature.

Is otitis media contagious?: Symptoms Of Ear Infection

No, otitis media is not a contagious disease as it is not transmitted from one person to another. However, the common cold and respiratory infections are contagious and spread quickly in school communities.

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Can it cause complications?

A well-treated otitis media with the right antibiotic. Given at the right dosage and for an adequate period, it practically always heals without consequences. But in some rare cases, it involves complications: the infection can pass from the middle ear to the meninges. That has small cavities communicating with the middle ear. In these cases, it is necessary to admit the child to the hospital.

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Schematically we can say that there are three otitis media types: Acute Otitis Media, Acute Recurrent Otitis Media. And Exudative Otitis Media (also commonly called “catarrhal otitis”). Let’s see them in detail.

Symptoms of Ear Infection: Otitis in children and infants

Ear pain is a common symptom, especially among children and neonates. In about 75% of cases, otitis occurs within the first 10 years. Although the first episode often occurs before the age of 2. Otitis is one of the first causes of resorting to pediatrician care.

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Structure of the ear

The ear is divided into three parts:

  • the external ear that is the auricle and the auditory canal. That somewhat tortuous canal that from the pavilion pushes into the skull and ends with the eardrum membrane.
  • The middle ear, which would be the small cavity behind the eardrum. And which communicates with the nose through a skinny tube.
  • The inner ear, which, located deep in the skull’s bones, contains the organ of balance and the delicate mechanism. That transforms the vibrations of the eardrum into sounds and noises.
  • Inflammation (otitis) can affect the outer ear (otitis externa) or the middle ear (otitis media).

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Symptoms of Ear Infection: External otitis

This is inflammation of the skin that lines the ear canal. Generally provoked by bacteria or fungi and favoured by the humid environment. It usually comes in summer, when you take frequent baths in the sea and the pool. [1]

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What are the symptoms of otitis externa?

Symptoms of ear infection are mainly pain, usually preceded by itching, the “muffled” perception of sounds, and, more rarely, the presence of secretion and/or blood in the ear canal.

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How is the diagnosis made?

If a child is at the beach or attends a swimming pool and suddenly feels severe pain in the ear. The pediatrician will immediately suspect otitis externa. Examination of the ear canal with an otoscope will confirm the diagnosis.

Also Read: Symptoms Of Sinus Infection

How is it treated?

The remedies for this type of otitis are drugs to be applied locally: antibiotics, antifungals, cortisone. Because it is ineffective, but a pain reliever (Paracetamol or Ibuprofen) can be useful if the pain does not subside due to the effect of the ear drops.

Can it be prevented?

The only possible prevention would be to avoid swimming in the sea and the pool. Which considering the banality of this pathology, would represent an unjustified deprivation.


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