Ear infection: middle ear

The most common form of ear infection is a middle ear ear infection. Middle ear infections are most common in children. An ear infection can be really painful. Sometimes blood comes from the ear. In most cases, an ear infection will disappear on its own.

Middle ear

The most common form of ear infection is a middle ear ear infection. Behind the eardrum is the Eustachian tube. This tube is connected to the throat. This area is also called the middle ear. Inflammation of the middle ear often enters through the Eustachian tube. Or through a hole in the eardrum.

Children and ear infections

Middle ear infections are most common in children. Why this is is because children have a shorter Eustachian tube. This makes the route that bacteria have to travel much shorter. This makes it easier for inflammation of the middle ear to occur. An ear infection is caused by a bacteria or a cold virus. Children who often have ear infections may also have an underlying disease. This could be, for example, an allergy, measles, or sometimes tuberculosis. But another underlying disease can also be the cause. In any case, go to the doctor if you often have an ear infection.

Symptoms

An ear infection can be really painful. Small children are often seen crying a lot and grabbing their ears. Older children complain of earache. Adults feel pressure behind the eardrum and a stabbing pain. There is often fever or nausea, sometimes with vomiting. Hearing also deteriorates because the eardrum can no longer do its job properly. In an acute ear infection, the middle ear fills so quickly with pus that severe pain occurs. Sometimes the eardrum ruptures. This is not serious and is actually a relief for the patient. The pressure then disappears from the eardrum and the pus can drain. This is often seen on the pillow in the morning. The pillow may be full of pus, but there may also be blood.

Therapy

In most cases, an ear infection will disappear on its own. After about three days, the pressure and pain are largely gone. After one to two weeks, the ear infection is completely healed. Pus and blood draining from the ear do not cause any harm, but actually relieve pressure on the eardrum. No medications are usually required. Paracetamol relieves the earache and fever. Do not put cotton wool in the ears, the fluff that remains can only cause more suffering. Use a nasal spray regularly. This dissolves the mucus and reduces the pressure behind the eardrum. If the fever in children rises to above 40 degrees or if the runny ear persists for more than two weeks, a visit to the doctor is recommended. An ear infection that is neglected can develop into meningitis.

Medicines

If the ear infection persists for a long time, medications are prescribed. This is in the form of an antibiotic. The antibiotic kills the bacteria that cause the inflammation. The antibiotic polymyxin B fights several types of bacteria. The pain disappears within a few days, but the treatment must be completed completely. This is because when the pain disappears, not all bacteria are gone. If the treatment is stopped earlier, bacteria are given a chance again.