Ear diseases can cause significant discomfort sometimes leading to hearing loss. They can also lead to decreased productivity because the communicative skills decrease as well. In children, ear diseases can cause development delay leading to academic failure. Even more, major complications might appear such as facial nerve paralysis, brain abscesses, meningitis or deafness.
Causes and symptoms of ear diseases
All ear diseases must be treated properly from the start. When you have a cold, an allergy attack or a throat infection, the tubes between the ear and the throat block and stop the fluid from draining from the ear. The fluid is the perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to grow developing ear diseases. Ear infections usually happen to children, because the tubes are smaller and can block easier than in adults.
If you feel an earache, mild or very hurtful, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Young children can’t tell you that they have an earache, but if you see them crying and pulling at the ears, it’s possible they developed some kind of infection. Sometimes, they even have a hard time sleeping or have a fever. The infection is usually accompanied by yellow fluid coming from the ear. If this happens, it means the infection burst and the ear starts to heal making the pain go away.
How to treat ear infections
Ear diseases are treated with antibiotics. Sometimes they go away on their own, but doctors recommend antibiotic treatments especially for children and those that present high risks of complications. Children can be treated at home with Tylenol, a warm heating pad placed on the ear and a lot of rest. It is not recommended to give aspirin to your child.
The best thing to do is consult a doctor and he can prescribe eardrops to aid with the pain. After the ear heals, the child might still have issue hearing you. If the issue persists for more than 3 months, call your doctor and schedule and appointment. This problem might affect your child’s development because in order for him to learn to talk he must be able to hear you.
Factors that increase the risk of ear diseases
There are some factors that can’t be controlled by you that can increase the risk of infections. For example:
- Very young children generally develop ear infections because they catch more colds than adults. Until they are 7, they develop at least 1 ear infection.
- Some children are born with medical conditions and birth defects.
- When the immune system is weak, children can develop more ear infections than a healthy child.
- Family history matters because if one of the parents or grandparents had multiple ear infections, they will most likely develop multiple infections as well.
- Various allergies also lead to infections.
- Repeated colds and respiratory infections generally lead to ear diseases.
- The exposure to cigarette smoke is bad for babies.
These are only a few of the factors that can increase the risk of ear infections. Regardless of the cause of infection, it is always advised to consult a doctor and get a prescription.