Things to know about ear infection.

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An ear infection occurs when a bacterial or viral infection affects the middle ear. Ear infection can be painful because of inflammation and fluid buildup in the middle ear.

Ear infections can be chronic or acute. Acute ear infections are painful but short in duration. Chronic ear infections either don't clear up or recur many times. Chronic ear infections can cause permanent damage to the middle and inner ear.

What causes an ear infection? - An ear infection occurs when one of your eustachian tubes becomes swollen or blocked, causing fluid to build up in the middle ear. - Causes of eustachian tube blockage include allergies, colds, sinus infections, excess mucus, smoking and infected or swollen adenoids.

What are the symptoms of ear infections? - Mild pain or discomfort inside the ear. - A feeling of pressure inside the ear that persists. - Fussiness in young infants. - Pus like ear drainage.

How are ear infections treated? - Apply a warm cloth to the affected ear. - Take over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen. - Use over the counter or prescription ear drops to relieve pain.

How can ear infections be prevented. - Washing your hands often. - Avoiding overly crowded areas. - Forgoing pacifiers with infants and small children. - Avoiding second hand smoke. - Keeping immunization up to date.

Source: Mayo clinic

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