Middle ear infection (otitis media)

Stinging and throbbing pain in the ear, usually after a previous cold - such symptoms speak especially for younger children for acute otitis media. Home remedies often help relieve earaches and shorten the duration of otitis media. Among the risk factors of middle ear inflammation include cigarette smoke or anatomical features.

Emergence and forms of a middle ear inflammation

An acute otitis media is mainly caused by cold viruses. They migrate through the passage (Eustach tube) from the pharynx and cause inflammation in the mucous membrane of the middle ear. Only when the eardrum has a hole, germs can also penetrate from the outside through the ear canal, rarely occurs an immigration via the bloodstream. In about 10 percent of cases, bacteria such as pneumococci or hemophilus are involved in otitis media.

Sometimes the middle ear infection in children constantly returns or does not heal properly. Such a chronic otitis media is often accompanied by pus accumulations in the middle ear, which are often emptied by the - at some point torn - eardrum.

Middle ear infection: causes and risk factors

Why some children repeatedly suffer from otitis media, others hardly, is not exactly known. Breastfeeding in the first three months of life seems to protect against middle ear infections. As risk factors and causes of a middle ear inflammation are assumed:

  • Much contact with other children (siblings, daycare) and thus with pathogens
  • Constant sucking on the pacifier
  • Cigarette smoke indoors
  • Pollutants in the outside air
  • Anatomical features, such as cleft palate or large pharyngeal tonsils
  • Maybe allergies and the reflux of stomach acid in the throat

Middle ear infection: symptoms and signs

Inflammation of the mucous membrane in the middle ear causes increased secretion (puffing effusion). As a result, children still have a very tight connection to the pharynx. The secretion can not drain and presses against the eardrum from the inside. This causes the severe earache, which is one of the typical symptoms of otitis media. Usually only one ear is affected by a middle ear infection and its symptoms.

The acute pain lasts from a few hours to three days. However, the tympanic effusion can persist for up to a month and cause temporary deafness. If the pressure is too strong, the eardrum may burst and the secretion drain. As a result, the pain subsides abruptly. The crack usually heals on its own within about two weeks.

In toddlers, the symptoms of otitis media - cough, runny nose, earache, possibly fever - are often not so clear. Instead, it may have a stomachache and diarrhea. Babies are restless, do not shout and eat, sometimes they constantly attack the affected ear.

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