An ear infection can be a very problematic condition especially when it happens in children who will writhe in pains and hold the ears crying. Even in adults, ear problems can cause an intense pain that gives serious concerns as the discomfort sometimes leads to headaches.
Whatever be the case, it cannot be taken lightly, as it may lead to hearing problems and can even be signs of a more complicated health issue that needs prompt attention.
The Ear Structure
The ear is a very important organ, as it is the centre of all auditory functions in the body. It is also very delicate, consisting of three parts; the outer, middle and inner ear. The outer ear is made up of a soft, boneless lobe of skin called the pinna, while the middle ear consists of the auditory canal that channel sound waves to the eardrum. The inner ear contains the three bones – malleus (hammer), incus (anvil), and stapes (stirrup) – which are the smallest bones in the body. Ear problems can cause damage in any of these sections of the ear which can ultimately lead to a hearing impairment.
It can develop from external objects that have been introduced into the ear or they can be a result of internal problems caused by build up of viruses or bacteria due to related health issues. The most likely causes of ear infections include:
• Acute otitis media (AOM)
This is an infection of the middle ear where some fluid is trapped in the ear and becomes infected by build up of bacteria which leads to swellings, pains and even minor hearing loss.
Because of the common connection that exists between the ear, nose, and throat, tonsillitis arises from an infection of the tonsils located in the back of the throat. The effects of the infection quickly spread to affect the ears.
• Sinus infections
Like tonsillitis, sinus infections cause swellings in the nose and its effects spread to be felt in the ear.
• Tooth problems
Having cavities or other related issues with the tooth can also cause ear problems especially in children.
In most cases, the pains associated with ear problems will easily go away without the need for any special medications, but sometimes the pain may persist and is accompanied by fever, in which case natural remedies are recommended.
• Olive oil
The use of warm olive oil drops can be very effective in treating an ear problems, especially when the infection is caused as a result of fungal infection of the earwax. A few drops of slightly warm olive oil will clear up the earwax.
• Tea tree oil
Another very effective treatment of ear problems is the use of tea tree oil drops which have high antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that relieve infections and pain in the ear. Apply a few warm drops in the ear and then turn the head to allow it drain out.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger make it very effective in treating ear problems, especially in the middle ear. Mix the extracted ginger juice with olive oil and apply a few drops of the liquid in the ear.
Common salt also serves as an effective treatment for ear infections, especially in cases of inflammations of the outer ear. Put the slightly warm salt in a piece of clean cloth and when it is considerably cool, press it on the ear.
Pain relievers such as ibuprofen are also used in the treatment of ear problems, but this should not be used for children. It is advisable to seek the doctor’s attention in cases of severe ear infections that have led to a fever.
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