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Otitis: symptoms, causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

We speak of otitis to refer to an inflammation of the ear caused by an infection and which is accompanied by various symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, fluid discharge and hearing problems, among others. Otitis is very common in children, and depending on the part of the ear that is affected we can speak of different types, the most common being acute otitis media. It is not a serious condition and it usually heals on its own in a short time, although when it occurs in children it is normal for us to worry. In this FastlyHealarticle we will explain the symptoms, causes and treatments of otitis .

Symptoms of otitis

The symptoms that accompany otitis can vary depending on whether it affects the internal, middle or external structure of the ear.
At the beginning of the ear affection, there is a sensation of plugging that leads to a slight loss of hearing. Later, the pain appears, which can be increased and spread through the ear area. It is common for other symptoms to appear at this time such as fever, vomiting and feeling tired as a result of the accumulated fluid.
At the moment in which the eardrum is perforated, the liquid comes out of the ear and can be accompanied by blood and the symptoms can be relieved. When otitis is chronic, it is common that pain is not experienced because the accumulation of fluid is in the back of the eardrum and the only symptom that is perceived is a lack of hearing.

Symptoms of external otitis

  • Redness of the ear.
  • Itching of the skin of the ear.
  • Mild hearing loss.
  • Liquid draining from the inside.
  • Feeling of pressure
  • Swollen lymph nodes.

Symptoms of otitis media

  • Hearing loss.
  • Fever.
  • Vomiting
  • Pain.
  • Mild hearing loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fluid drainage

Symptoms of otitis interna

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Fluid drainage
  • Vomiting

Causes of otitis

In order to explain the causes that generate otitis, we can differentiate between two types of damage that can take place in different parts of the ear:

  • Otitis media . The main cause that generates otitis media is the obstruction of the Eustachian tube , a tube in charge of draining fluid and dirt from the ears, and that connects them with the nose. In the case of children, this duct has a narrower and horizontal structure, making it easier for dirt and bacteria to accumulate, causing infection.
  • External otitis . In this case, the outer part of the ear becomes irritated, without involving the internal structure of the ear. The most common cause of this type of otitis is contact with waters that contain fungi and bacteria, such as swimming pools, and the use of cotton swabs to clean the ears.
  • Internal otitis . Known as labyrinthitis, it consists of irritation and swelling of the inner part of the ear, being the type that usually occurs less frequently. The cause of this type of otitis is a cold or flu, as well as some allergies or medications.

In addition, smoking or being exposed to tobacco smoke, frequent use of antibiotics, having a family history, frequent colds, among other symptoms, can pose some risk factors for otitis.

Treatment of otitis

At first, the treatment to cure otitis is based on the administration of antibiotics to fight the infection in case bacteria are the cause, and anti-inflammatories for a period of approximately two weeks. It is very common to use drops to treat the infection, since these are introduced inside the ear allowing the area to be disinfected. It is advisable not to bathe and avoid contact of our ears with water during the treatment.
In some cases, surgical intervention is requiredIn order to allow the fluid accumulated inside the ear and other substances that may be obstructing the Eustachian tube to escape. In addition, surgery may also be done to remove inflamed tissues that are blocking the ear canals.

Prevention of otitis

Taking into account the following guidelines, we will prevent our ear from being infected by the different causes that we have explained above. We must also teach children to adopt certain customs regarding hearing hygiene, since they are the most prone to suffer from problems of this type.

  • Wear suitable caps when bathing in pools or other places where the water may be dirty or there is chlorine.
  • Avoid the use of earplugs , since they can generate wounds in the inner part of the ear, so it is only recommended for those patients prone to ear infections.
  • Avoid using swabs to clean the ears, since you could damage the eardrum in addition to facilitating the entry of dirt that will facilitate an infection.
  • Dry your ears well after contact with water.

In the case of children’s:

  • Breastfeeding . Breastfeed the child, at least the first three months of life.
  • Teach the child to expel the snot , that is, to blow his nose as soon as possible.

When to go to the doctor?

In the case that the pain is mild or moderate, we can wait a few days with the help of some anti-inflammatory or analgesic medicine to help fight the pain and inflammation. If it is detected that the symptoms persist or increase, we must go to the doctor as soon as possible so that the doctor can study the case and establish a diagnosis. However, there are more causes of earache , so the symptoms could indicate other damages or diseases.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Otitis: symptoms, causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Ear, nose and throat category .

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