Symptoms of ear infection

Some ear infection symptoms include: 

  • Ear pain
  • Full or blocked sensation in the ear
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Poor sleep quality

Causes, risks, and complications of ear infection

Ear infections typically stem from bacteria and viruses. It can also occur after a cold or a respiratory infection. The bacteria or virus travels into the middle ear through the eustachian tube, causing it to swell. The swelling blocks the tube, while preventing fluids from draining away from the ear, leading to an infection. 

Children are more prone to ear infections because their eustachian tube is smaller and more horizontal, which makes them less capable of draining fluids away from their ear. 

Most ear infections will resolve on their own. But in more severe cases, ear infections that are left untreated can lead to complications such as acute mastoiditis, meningitis, and brain abscess.

Treatment for an ear infection

Ear infections can sometimes be left to heal on their own. However, in some cases, antibiotics may be given to help resolve the infection, reduce pain and prevent complications. Medications for symptom relief may also be given.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How serious is an ear infection?

Ear infections are mostly minor and will resolve on their own within a few days. Some cases, however, may lead to life-threatening conditions.

How do you know if an ear infection is viral or bacterial?

A viral ear infection typically resolves in under 14 days while bacterial infections can persist longer than 14 days. You may also suffer from a fever higher than that of a viral infection. 

What does an ear infection look like in kids?

If your child is unable to verbalise his discomfort yet, you can keep an eye out for symptoms such as tugging or pulling of ears, crying and irritability, difficulty sleeping, and fluid draining from the ear to detect an ear infection.