To understand how your child’s ears can get infected, you should first know more about the air that is present in the middle ear.
The air that is present in the middle part of the air reaches there through tubes known as the Eustachian tubes. These are the tubes that help to connect the middle part of the ear and the back of the throat. Sometimes, the Eustachian tubes also end up transferring things other than air, such as germs.
In many instances, the tubes become a pathway for various germs to move from the throat or the nose and reach the ear area. When these germs reach the ear, they settle in the middle part of the ear which leads to infection and pus. The medical term for this process is otitis media. It refers to the inflammation that takes part in the middle part of the ear and causes the infection.
One of the first signs of otitis media is a simple cold. As your child’s body tries to fight the virus, it leads to swelling in the throat as well as inside the nose. This again leads to stuffiness, which then affects the Eustachian tubes. As a result, the Eustachian tubes are not able to control the germs from reaching to the middle ear and are also not able to throw out any germs that may already be present inside, or might be trying to get in.
Some of the first germs that get inside are mostly the same ones that led to the cold. These ear infections are actually viral infections that are a part of the cold that your child has. Just as your child’s immune system will fight off the cold and treat it in a few days, it will also fight off the ear infection and help it get better on its own soon.
However, in some cases, even when your child’s ear infection gets better, there is a possibility of it happening all over again. The reason this happens is that, once the initial ear infection is better, your child’s immune system is relaxed and the defences are low. This is the time when bacteria that is already present in your child’s body gets active, and reaches inside the middle part of the ear.
When this happens, the ear infection will usually be more serious than the first one. If you see any pus, leakage, swelling or if your child experiences pain, discomfort or hearing problems, visit a doctor immediately.
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