Ear Infections & Related Problems
Middle ear (Otitis media) - Ear infections (acute otitis media) occur in the space behind the eardrum, which is called the middle ear. Ear infections are more likely to occur after a cold or other upper respiratory infection has been present for a few days.
During a cold, throat infection, or allergy attack, the tube that connects the throat and the middle ear (eustachian tube) swells and prevents air from entering the middle ear. This can create suction, which pulls fluid into the middle ear space. The fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear, allowing viruses or bacteria to grow and cause infection.
Symptoms of ear infection can include ear pain, fever, thick and yellow drainage from the ear, irritability, loss of appetite, vomiting, difficulty sleeping, and trouble hearing.
Outer Ear (Swimmer's Ear) - Swimmer's ear may develop when water, sand, dirt, or other debris gets into the ear canal. Since it often occurs when excess water enters the ear canal, a common name for this inflammation is "swimmer's ear." If you have had swimmer's ear in the past, you are more likely to get it again.
Swimmer's ear (otitis externa) is a painful inflammation and infection of the ear canal. It occurs when the protective film that covers the ear canal (lipid layer) is removed. This causes the ear canal to look red and swollen.