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An ear infection is a painful condition that manifests frequently among young children. Known among doctors as otitis media, an estimated five out of six children will develop at least one ear infection by the age of three. Adults are not immune from ear infections, but children are much more susceptible because of the fact that their eustachian tubes don’t drain fluid as efficiently as adults. Read on for more information about some causes of ear infections.
One of the lesser known culprits of ear infections is the onset of allergies. Any condition that compromises the upper respiratory system can result in a blockage of eustachian tubes, which greatly increases the risk of contracting a full-blown ear infection.
The eustachian tubes connect the upper throat with the middle section of the ear. When these tubes that normally drain fluid become compromised by the symptoms of allergies, the ideal conditions arise for the multiplication of bacteria, resulting in further swelling and an increase in pain.
When pollen and other allergen levels rise, those with allergies often end up suffering from upper respiratory problems that reduce the amount of drainage from the tubes. Treating your allergies through prescribed medication helps with symptoms that might end up triggering a painful ear infection among both children and adults.
One of the more surprising causes of ear infections in children is the use of pacifiers. Pacifiers represent a potential vector for infectious agents to enter your child’s respiratory tract, leading to an increase of mucus that blocks ear drainage. Additionally, when your child sucks on the pacifier, the tubes open and close, which can draw additional pathogens and viscous fluid into the ear, resulting in a painful ear infection. Make sure to keep pacifiers clean and limit their use to avoid repeated ear infections for your child.
Secondhand cigarette smoke and elevated levels of air pollution are believed to decrease the effectiveness of the immune system, regardless of age. This makes it more difficult for your body to fight off infections, including those of the middle ear.
While ear infections tend not to be too serious and often heal on their own, otitis media can be a painfully debilitating condition that makes it difficult for you or your child to go through your daily routine.
Untreated, chronic ear infections can lead to temporary or even permanent hearing loss, and unless the pain is acute, can go unnoticed. At Houston Sinus & Allergy, our ENT doctor specializes in treating nasal and ear infections, as well as issues stemming from allergies. Dr. Nguyen has helped countless individuals with ear infections and he can help you, too. Book an assessment today so we can begin to treat your ear infections.