Common Ear Infection Symptoms
By West Coast ENT Head and Neck Surgery
December 04, 2014
Category: Ear Infection
Otitis media is the medical term for middle-ear inflammation. There are 3 types of otitis media: acute otitis media, otitis media with effusion. and chronic suppurative otitis media. Acute otitis media is normally has obvious symptoms associated, especially ear pain. Otitis media with effusion most commonly is not associated with acute symptoms. Lastly, chronic suppurative otitis media is associated with perforation of the ear drum and may or may not have drainage. All 3 of these conditions are associated with hearing loss. Otitis Media is most frequently found in childhood but it can occur at any age. Not all disease in the middle-ear is otitis media, such as cholesteatoma and congenital malformatons of the middle-ear.
The symptoms associated with acute otitis media is ear pain and fever. Irritability can by a symptom or sign that an infant has acute otitis media.
Signs and symptoms common in children include:
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive crying
- Ear pain, especially when lying down
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty hearing or responding to sounds
- Tugging or pulling on ear
- Loss of balance
- Fever of 100 F or higher
- Drainage of fluid from the ear
Since in some cases an upper respiratory tract infection is the cause of otitis media, there can be symptoms such as cough and nasal discharge. Another symptom could be discharge from the ear, Otorrhea, and can be caused by chronic suppurative otitis media, acute otitis media with perforation of the ear drum, or acute otitis externa.
A virus or bacterium in the middle ear is the cause of an ear infection. Other infections such as cold, flu, allergy or anything that causes congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat or eustachian tubes are the cause for an ear infection. The eustachian tubes are a pair of narrow tubes that run from each middle ear to high in the back of the throat, behind the nasal passages. These tubes open and close to refresh air in the ear, regulate air pressure and drain normal secretions from the middle ear. The symptoms associated with an upper respiratory infection or allergy, such as swelling, inflammation, and mucus, can block the eustachian tubes causing a buildup of fluids in the middle ear. The symptoms of an ear infection are usually produced when this fluid becomes infected with bacteria or viruses. Since the eustachian tubes in a child are narrower and more horizontal; ear infections are more common.
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