Ear infections occur when bacteria or viruses infect the middle ear, which is the space behind the eardrum. If left untreated they can cause serious complications such as hearing loss, balance problems, ruptured eardrum, and more.

Ear Infection Causes

The most common causes of ear infections include bacteria, viruses, allergies and environmental factors. Bacterial and viral infections can enter the ear through the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. Allergies and sinus infections may also cause inflammation that can lead to an infection and environmental factors such as smoke or water in the ears can also increase your risk. For infants and young children, improper bottle feeding technique can also be a cause of ear infections.

Ear Infection Symptoms

Ear infection symptoms include ear pain, fever and fluid buildup behind the eardrum. In children, tugging or pulling at the ear could indicate an infection. They may also experience difficulty sleeping and irritability. A doctor may look into the ear to check for signs of infection and fluid buildup.

Prevent Ear Infection

Fortunately, most ear infections can be treated with antibiotics or other medications prescribed by your doctor. However, prevention is still key. To reduce your risk of getting an ear infection, wash your hands regularly, avoid swimming or diving without protection and get flu shots each year to protect against upper respiratory infections that can lead to ear infections. With proper care and attention, you can stay heal