Ear Infection Causes and Risk Factors

rAn ear infection is caused by a bacteria or virus in the middle ear .It may results from other illness like cold ,flu or allergy, that causes congestion and inflammation of the nasal passages, throat and Eustachian tubes.
1. Swelling ,inflammation and mucus in the Eustachian tubes from an upper respiratory infection or allergy can block them,results in the accumulation of fluids in the middle ear.
The bacterial and viral infection of the fluid produces the systems.
2. Inflammation or enlargement of the adenoids may block the tubes, thereby contributing to middle ear infection. Inflammation of adenoids is more likely to play a role in ear infections in children because children have more active and relatively larger adenoids.
3. Otitis media with effusion: It is the inflammation and fluid build in the middle ear without any bacterial or viral infection.It may occur because of some disfunction or non infectious blockage of the estachian tubes.
4. Chronic suppurative otitis media is a persistent ear infection that results in tearing or perforation of the eardrum
Ear infections are more common in children, in part, because their eustachian tubes are narrower and more horizontal — factors that make them more difficult to drain and more likely to get clogged.

They include :
1.AGE: Children between the age 6 months -2 years are more prone to the ear infections due to the size and shape of their Eustachian tubes and also due to the poor development of immune system.
2.INFANT FEEDING:Babies who feed through bollle milk are prone than the children on breast feed.
3.SEASONAL FACTORS: they are most common during the winter season ,when cold ,flu are prevalent .people with seasonal allergies are more prone to the ear infections.
4. Exposure to tobacco smoke or high levels of air pollution increases the risk of ear infection.
Frequent or persistent infections and persistent fluid can result in some serious complications:
1. Results to impaired hearing.
2. Speech or developmental delays may occur in infants .
3. Tearing of eardrum: in few cases results in surgical repair.
The doctor will examine the ear using an instrument called an otoscope. A healthy eardrum is pinkish-gray in color and translucent. If infection is present, the eardrum may be inflamed, swollen or red. The eardrum may bulge out or retract inward, or it may show openings (perforation).
Another useful diagnostic tool is tympanometry, a test that uses sound and air pressure to check for fluid in the middle ear. An audiogram tests if hearing loss has occurred by presenting tones at various pitches.

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