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- Ear infection or inflammation (otitis media) facts
- What is otitis media (middle ear infection or inflammation)?
- What are the symptoms of acute middle ear infection?
- How common is acute middle ear infection or inflammation?
- Are ear infections contagious?
- Why do young children tend to have ear infections?
- How does the Eustachian tube change as a child gets older?
- What microorganisms cause middle ear infection or inflammation?
- What is the relationship between bottlefeeding and middle ear infection or inflammation?
- What are the risk factors for acute middle ear infection or inflammation?
- How is acute otitis media diagnosed?
- How is acute middle ear infection or inflammation treated?
- Are there any home remedies for acute ear infection (otitis media)?
- What causes chronic middle ear infection or inflammation?
- What happens to the eardrum in chronic middle ear infection or inflammation?
- What happens to the eardrum if a hole develops in the eardrum?
- How is chronic middle ear infection or inflammation treated?
- What are the goals of chronic otitis media surgery?
- What is serious middle ear infection or inflammation?
- What limitations are there on a child with middle ear infection or inflammation?
- Can otitis media (middle ear infection or inflammation) be prevented?
Quick GuideAnatomy of an Ear Infection Pictures Slideshow: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Are there any home remedies for acute ear infection (otitis media)?
Although there are a number of suggested home remedies for the treatment of ear infections, including humidified air, homeopathic treatments, naturopathic ear drops, decongestants, and antihistamines; there are limited studies suggesting the benefits of these measures over accepted and recommended treatments. Both oral and topical analgesics are effective in controlling the pain associated with ear infections, but the use of decongestants or antihistamines has not been demonstrated to improve symptoms or speed the resolution of acute otitis media.
In some patients that are ill from other diseases, have pus draining from the ear, or are immunocompromised, there is a danger that otitis media, especially bacterial-caused, may invade the mastoid bone and reach the brain. These patients need to be seen urgently by a medical caregiver; do not delay their treatment by trying home remedies.
What causes chronic middle ear infection or inflammation?
The Eustachian tube normally prevents the accumulation of fluid by allowing fluid to drain through the tube. Chronic otitis media develops over time, and often starts with a chronic middle ear effusion (fluid) that does not resolve. This persistent fluid will often become contaminated with bacteria, and the bacteria found in chronic otitis media are often different from those found in acute otitis media. Therefore, anything that disturbs the function of the Eustachian tube can lead to chronic otitis media.
What happens to the eardrum in chronic middle ear infection or inflammation?
The eardrum (tympanic membrane) has three delicate layers that help keep the eardrum thin, but strong. A chronic middle ear infection causes changes in the eardrum that weaken it, and often lead to a hole in the eardrum (tympanic membrane perforation). Eventually, the eardrum looses its strength and begins to collapse into the middle ear space.
When the eardrum collapses or retracts from negative pressure in the middle ear, it can attach to the other middle ear structures. It is frequently seen draped around the middle ear bones (ossicles) or the inner wall of the middle ear (promontory). This disrupts the conduction of sound through the middle ear, and may diminish hearing.