If you’ve ever had an ear infection or watched your child go through the experience, you understand how disruptive these common infections can be. For those in and around Kittery, Maine, and Stratham, New Hampshire, help from the team at Family Ear, Nose & Throat, LLC. can make a world of difference in navigating an ear infection. To schedule an appointment, call the nearest office or book online today.
An ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection in the middle portion of your ear. This is the air-filled area behind your eardrum that houses the tiny bones that vibrate to enable hearing.
Ear infections often follow another illness like an allergic reaction, cold, or flu. The resulting congestion and swelling in the throat, nasal passages, and eustachian tubes creates an environment for viruses and bacteria to thrive. Additional causal factors include pacifier use, climate changes, or altitude changes. Researchers have found that bottle-fed kids have a higher rate of ear infections than breastfed infants.
The primary reason kids are more likely to get an ear infection is a matter of anatomy. Children have shorter, more narrow eustachian tubes than adults. These tubes run from your middle ear to the uppermost portion of the back of your throat.
Eustachian tubes circulate air in your ear, regulate ear pressure, and drain secretions from the middle ear. Children have a higher chance of those tubes becoming clogged, which increases the risk of an ear infection.
While adults encounter ear infections less frequently than children, they tend to have more serious infections. Some of the factors that increase an adult’s risk of developing an ear infection include smoking, diabetes, immune system issues, and chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Not all ear infections require treatment, and a period of watchful waiting may be the best approach. Over-the-counter pain medication can help manage discomfort, and anesthetic drops are also an option.
Antibiotics can help treat certain ear infections, especially acute infections, where significant pain is present. For kids who suffer frequent ear infections, surgically implanted ear tubes can improve drainage from the middle ear.
The Family Ear, Nose & Throat, LLC. team has extensive experience placing ear tubes and can explain all aspects of this brief procedure to help you make an informed decision about treatment.
If you have questions or concerns about ear infections, call Family Ear, Nose & Throat, LLC., or book an appointment online today.