Also known as otitis, ear infections are common in both adults and children, but are more prevalent in younger patients. Ear infections are classified into three groups: Otitis externa (outer ear infection), otitis media (middle ear infection), and otitis interna (inner ear infection). Ear infections are usually caused by a bacterium that develops due to fluid build-ups behind the eardrum, which can cause pain and inflammation. DOCCS physicians can treat a wide range of ear infections with a proper regiment of antibiotics and eardrops, but our care does not stop at that. At DOCCS we also offer seasonal flu vaccines, which are recommended for the prevention of ear infections, amongst other things.
Outer Ear Infection: Otitis externa, or swimmers ear, usually develops from swimming in polluted water, but the infection can also be caused by germs that get into breaks in your skin from using things like cotton swabs or putting your finger inside your ear. Pain, itching, and discharge from the ear are the most common symptoms of otitis externa.
Middle Ear Infection: Otitis media is usually caused by a blockage in the Eustachian tube, or auditory tube, which is connected to the nasopharynx. When the mucous membrane swells it can cause an upper respiratory infection which can cause an infection in the middle eardrum. When otitis media is triggered by an upper respiratory tract infection a cough or nasal discharge may be a symptom. Pain, irritability, and fever are a few other symptoms of otitis media.
Inner Ear Infection: Bacterial infections spreading from the middle ear to the inner ear can cause inflammation and pain. Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear and is usually caused by some viral infection. It results in vertigo, which can cause dizziness and vomiting. For this reason, it is very important to make sure a middle ear infection is looked at before it can spread farther.