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Earache in children

Acute Otitis Media (Acute middle ear infection)

Acute otitis media is a bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear. This disorder can develop in people of all ages but it is most common in young children, particularly those between the ages of 3 months and 3 years. It usually develops as a complication of the common cold. Viruses and bacteria from the throat can reach the middle ear via the Eustachian tube or occasionally through the bloodstream. Viral otitis media is usually followed by bacterial otitis media.
The first symptom of a middle ear infection is usually a persistent yet severe ache in the ears. Temporary hearing loss may also occur.

Young children tend to have the following accompanying symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High fever

Otitis Media can result in a bulging inflamed eardrum and in certain cases, the eardrum may rupture. Discharge may drain from the ear should the eardrum rupture. The drained fluids may be bloody at first, then change to clear fluid and finally to pus.

Some serious complications of an Acute Middle ear infection include:

  • Infections of the surrounding bone (mastoiditis or petrositis)
  • An infection of the semi-circular canals (labyrinthitis)
  • Paralysis of the face
  • Hearing loss or diminished hearing
  • Inflammation of the covering of the brain (meningitis), and
  • Brain abscess

The signs of an impending complication include a headache, sudden profound hearing loss, vertigo and chills as well as a fever or high body temperature.
A doctor will examine the ear to make a diagnosis. If there is pus or some other discharge draining from the ear, a sample or the drained fluids will be sent to a laboratory and examined to identify the organism causing the infection.

The infection will usually be treated with oral antibiotics. If a person has severe or persistent pain, fever, vomiting or diarrhea, or if the eardrum is bulging, a doctor may perform a myringotomy, in which an opening is made through the eardrum to allow fluid to drain from the middle ear. The opening, which doesn’t affect hearing, heals on its own.

Chronic Otitis Media (Chronic middle ear infection)

Chronic otitis media is a long-standing infection caused by a permanent hole (perforation) which has developed in the eardrum. This perforation can be caused by untreated acute otitis media, a blockage of the Eustachian tube, injury from an object entering the ear, from sudden changes in air pressure from burns caused by heat or chemicals. The symptoms exhibited of Chronic otitis media will depend on which part of the eardrum is perforated.

External Otitis (Outer ear infection)

External otitis is an infection of the ear canal and can be classified depending on which part of the external ear canal is affected.

  • This infection may affect the entire canal, as in generalized external otitis.
  • The infection may affect just one small area, as a boil (furuncle).
What are the causes of External Otitis?
  • External otitis, often called swimmer’s ear, is most common during the summer swimming season.
  • A variety of bacteria, or rarely, fungi, can cause generalized external otitis.
  • A boil or furuncle may however develop due to the bacterium Staphylococcus.
  • Injuring the ear canal while cleaning it or getting water or irritants in the canal often leads to external otitis.
  • Accumulated debris or earwax tend to trap water that enters the ear canal during a shower or while swimming. The resulting wet, softened skin in the ear canal is more easily infected by bacteria or fungi.
Symptoms of External Otitis include

Symptoms of external otitis are itching, pain and discharge. Hearing may be impaired if the ear canal swells or fills with pus and debris. The canal is usually tender and hurts if the external ear (pinna) is pulled or if pressure is placed on the fold of skin in front of the ear canal.

Treatment of External Otitis

In treating generalized external otitis, a doctor first removes the infected debris from the canal. After the ear canal is cleared, hearing frequently returns to normal. A person is usually given antibiotic ear drops to place within the ear several times a day for up to a week. Corticosteroids may be present in ear drops to help reduce swelling. On rare occasions, drops containing acetic acid are prescribed to help restore the acidity of the ear canal.

Treatment of External Otitis (resulting in a boil or furuncle)

The boils usually are allowed to drain by themselves as cutting these open can result in a spread of the infection. Antibiotic ear drops are not however effective in treating a boil or furuncle. A heating pad can be applied for a short time to help promote draining of the boil fluid and analgesics can help relieve pain and speed healing.

  Natural treatment for Earaches in children

EarAche Twinkles - safe for babies, toddlers and young children to take

  • Treats - Ear infection cause bacteria or a viral infection, pain, fever and chills

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