Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Are Ear Infections Contagious? (Causes, Treatment, Prevention)

What Is An Ear Infection?

Inflammation of the middle ear (otitis media), outer ear infection (otitis externa), and strep throat are all distinct forms of ear infection. The middle ear is a hollow cavity filled with air behind the eardrum; Tiny bones in the ear canal vibrate to alter the sound that reaches the eardrum.

When you are suffering from an upper respiratory virus called the common cold, or During a case of the flu, mucus-producing bacteria in your middle ear might cause an impaction. This condition is prevalent in young children since they have more contact with their peers and are still developing their immune systems.

Are Ear Infections Contagious?

Actually, an Ear infection is not contagious, although the virus and bacteria that cause it can transfer from one person to another. Droplet inhalation is a significant transmission route for many infectious diseases. Also, the common cold and the flu viruses transfer through coughing or sneezing. Furthermore, you can contract the infection by touching the surface on which the droplets settle.

ear care

The respiratory system is a common source of germs that cause ear infections, which means they’re not infectious in the traditional sense. However, many people get them repeatedly, leading to chronic ear infections only in certain circumstances, like having blocked eustachian tubes.

Causes of Ear Infections

Ear infections are caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or multiple/mixed conditions. Some factors that cause the ear to get a bit damp are dryness, habits such as scratching and rubbing the ear, use of headphones to cleanse ears, frequent use of earplugs or headphones for extended periods using dirty towels and linens, and so on.

The Medical Causes Of Ear Infections Are:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Fungus

Common Causes Of Ear Infections:

  • Overly frequent ear cleaning – the most frequent cause is scratching or trauma due to cleaning.
  • Changes in air pressure can cause eardrum damage, particularly during the rapid descent during flight or rapid ascent in professional or recreational diving. It can result in bleeding or rupture of an eardrum
  • Children not correctly positioned during eating and upper respiratory infections can lead to a middle ear condition that can be dangerous and distressing for the child.

Treatment

ear infection contagious

First of all, concentrate on relieving pain, as it can be painful. It is crucial to seek advice from a doctor for antibiotic drops, sprays, or capsules. Although the condition isn’t fatal, if not treated results in irreparable injury to the eardrum and possibly loss of hearing.

  1. Usually, an anti-inflammatory painkiller, such as Ibuprofen, by the label’s instructions, can lessen the swelling of the canal or drum.
  2. Reduce the temperature by regularly using paracetamol according to the instructions on the label. It can also aid in pain relief.
  3. Reduce pain by placing hot water bottles (wrapped in a pillow or tea towel slip) against the affected ear. It may work for a while, based on the kind of ache or infection you’re experiencing. It would be best if you were sure to try it.
  4. If the heat doesn’t work, try something cold such as an ice pack or bags of frozen peas rolled with a towel to the ear. It can also alleviate the itching around the ear.
  5. Relieve itching by using an antihistamine. It decreases the body’s production of the chemical histamine present in the body, which reduces the itching.

Prevention

We all know that prevention is always better than cure, and there are steps to prevent a repeat infection.

  • Make sure that your ears always remain dry. Don’t immerse your head in the water, whether it’s for swimming or bathing.
  • Make sure to wear earplugs when in contact with water to limit the risk, or create a temporary plug using vaseline and cotton wool or similar when showering.
  • Avoid becoming sick from an illness like a cold or flu. It may sound ridiculous, considering that nobody intends to get sick. Still, avoiding getting sick with colds or flu is crucial, especially for those prone to ear infections. It will prevent the ear from suffering in the future, literally!
  • Don’t put anything in the canal of your ear. You may do it with the best intentions, but you’ll likely cause more harm. As mentioned previously, any item that isn’t sterilized could cause infections. Cotton buds are harmful to ears since they could be a source of friction and can get caught inside the canal. Avoid foreign bodies within the ear altogether!
  • Please do not wash your ears with cotton buds as they could get stuck within the channel or push wax deeper into your ear, causing the build-up of earwax where bacteria can grow.
  • Avoid soap or shampoo from getting into your ear. It causes irritation and skin issues within your ear. These aren’t infectious and may make you scratch. It can cause damage to the skin and lead to further irritation.

Types

ear test

In general, there are three types of ear infections.

Acute otitis media (AOM)

The AOM condition is among the most commonly encountered and least severe type of ear infections. The middle ear gets swelling, and fluid accumulates in the eardrum.

Otitis media with effusion (OME)

If an ear infection is over its course, a little bit of fluid is left within the eardrum. The person suffering from OME might not show any symptoms, but a physician can detect that there is still fluid.

Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME)

COME” represent fluid that keeps going back into the middle ear, whether or not there is an infection in the middle ear. It decreases the capacity to fight off other diseases and can hurt hearing.

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