Ear Infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi .
Further into your ear than you can reach with your finger, is a smooth membrane like the skin of a drum. Behind this eardrum, your hearing bones – hammer, anvil, and stapes – are stored in a bony room called the middle ear. Infections of the ear are either of the ear canal you can poke with your finger – Otis external / swimmers ear, or the middle ear you cannot – Otitis media, or even deeper, in the balance chamber next to your brain labyrinths.
Viral ear infections typically don’t last longer than your average flu – about 7 to 10 days. They tend to make the ear itchy inside but are mostly harmless. If they reach to the semicircular canals and labyrinth then they’ll also cause temporary vertigo.
Bacterial infections on the other hand, have no time limit. Given lots of time, they can gobble up and destroy delicate structures in the ear leading to deafness. They cause fever and a lot of throbbing pain. Swimmers ear is milder and caused by left over stagnant pool water getting causing infection in the outer canal.
Fungal infections are the mildest of our three ear miscreants. They typically aren’t very aggressive so affect just the outer ear causing itching in the outer canal.
SYMPTOMS of an EAR INFECTION can include:
Pain in your ear.
Tenderness over the bones around your ear.
Discharging yellow or green fluid like a runny nose.
Itching in the ear.
Popping sounds when yawning.
Ear Infection Treatment:
Ear infection treatment depends both on what’s causing the infection and how deep in the ear it is.
So for bacteria you’ll always use an antibiotic. If they’re in the outer ear as in swimmers ear then ear drops are used. If deeper inside the drops can’t reach so tablets or liquid by mouth are used.
For fungi, they hang out in the outer ear canal, so anti fungal ear drops are used.
For viruses, they affect the entire ear but go away on their own. So symptom relief like an intensest or something for fever like Tylenol are all that’s needed.
In kids with recurrent middle ear infections, surgical placement of tubes in the drums reduces the frequency and duration of ear infections by allowing the ears to keep dry, starving bacteria of stagnant ear fluid.