An ear infection is usually caused by viruses and bacteria. This condition often affects the middle ear and is accompanied by severe pain. The disease is most common among children. You need treatment, which will be prescribed by a qualified otolaryngologist.
Ear infections often develop during or after illnesses such as SARS and colds. Therefore, the question arises, is ear infections contagious? To understand the nature of the disease, the most effective methods of treatment and prevention, it is necessary to understand the causes of the development of the infection.
Is an ear infections contagious?
Is ear infections contagious? – Ear infections are not contagious, but viruses and bacteria that contribute to ear infections can be passed from one person to another. Depending on the localization of the inflammatory process, experts distinguish three main types of the disease:
- an external infection, more commonly known as swimmer’s ear.
- inflammation of the inner ear.
- a middle ear infection or otitis media, which is most common in children.
In most cases, ear infections are caused by viruses and bacteria in the middle ear. People who have the flu and colds while talking, sneezing and coughing can infect others. This is due to particles of saliva, which contain many bacteria and can enter the mouth or nose of a healthy person. Thus, the risk of contracting respiratory diseases and ear infections is greatly increased.
Types of ear infections
There are 4 main types of ear infections that affect the middle ear. They can be triggered by both bacteria and viruses:
- Acute otitis media is the most common type. Edema spreads over the eardrum, causing severe pain.
- chronic purulent otitis media of the middle ear is a complication of acute inflammation of the middle ear. Accompanied by perforation of the tympanic membrane.
- exudative otitis media of the middle ear, usually noted in children. It develops after the initial infection has already been destroyed, but the exudate lingers in the middle ear.
- chronic exudative otitis media of the middle ear. It develops when the exudate is in the middle ear for a long time or a new one is constantly formed. This type of ear infection can cause hearing problems.
Chronic ear infections can lead to some complications:
- mastoiditis – inflammation of the mastoid process of the temporal bone.
- cholesteatoma – a cavity that consists of overgrown and dead cells in the middle ear.
Symptoms of ear infections
Symptoms of an acute middle ear infection include:
- hearing problems.
- fever, an increase in body temperature up to 38 ° C and above.
- nausea or vomiting.
- discharge from the ear.
How does an ear infection develop?
You are more likely to develop viruses and bacteria that cause disease if you have symptoms such as nasal congestion or swelling of the Eustachian tubes. Similar problems can arise from the common cold.
The Eustachian tubes connect the back of the throat and the middle ear. Their main function is to ensure the regulation of air flows and the outflow of fluid from the ears. The inflammatory process can cause fluid to build up in the middle ear and cause a feeling of congestion.
The following factors can lead to malfunction of the Eustachian tubes:
- Change in atmospheric pressure.
- Sinus infections.
- Seasonal changes.
With the development of an ear infection, the following symptoms may occur:
Prevention of ear infections
While an ear infection itself is not contagious, you can minimize the risk of germs spreading as much as possible. To do this, it is enough to adhere to the following recommendations:
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Get vaccinated against viral infections.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid walking at elevated body temperatures.
These simple rules will help you minimize your risk of ear infections.
Treatment of ear infections
If you experience painful sensations in the ear, you should consult an otolaryngologist
Experienced and talented specialists of a hospital conduct an examination, diagnose otitis media in a child or an adult and prescribe the appropriate therapy.
For an acute ear infection, treatment involves the use of antibiotics or special ear drops. you can consult with your doctor or an experienced otolaryngologists and choose the most appropriate drug therapy.
Chronic ear infections in adults that do not work well can be cleared up with surgery. This operation removes excess fluid from the middle ear.