Fall brings about many wonderful things. The changing of the leaves, the subtle crunch as you walk outside, and the scent of seasonal flavors. There’s one more thing it can bring that’s not so pleasant: an ear infection.
An ear infection, as the name implies, is an infection in the inner, middle, or outermost parts of the ear, usually caused by bacteria or viruses traveling from the upper respiratory system to the Eustachian tube. For middle ear infections (otitis media), it creates inflammation, redness, and swelling behind the eardrum.
Many symptoms can go along with inflammation and swelling brought on by an ear infection. They include:
Children with an ear infection tend to tug at their ears to try to relieve the pain, even at younger ages where they may not realize what’s wrong.
Cold weather in and of itself does not cause ear infections. It does, however, make current symptoms more noticeable. Illness brought on during cold and flu season could also lead to ear infections due to a lowered immune system.
Warmer weather is not without its own drawbacks. Heat and humidity brought on by summer can create extra moisture in the ear, leading to more bacteria and, subsequently, an infection. This is also the time of year when swimming and water sports are more popular, which can also lead to the condition.
Ear infections can happen any time of year depending on the cause. That said, seasonal allergies in the fall from ragweed pollen can irritate the Eustachian tube, preventing fluid from draining and causing a buildup of bacteria. That, coupled with illnesses that happen in the fall, could lead to many days with sore ears.
Luckily, many ear infections can clear up on their own or through antibiotics if the cause is bacterial. There are still some treatment options for the individual symptoms that can provide relief. Over-the-counter pain relievers are suitable for inflammation, while a warm compress is good for additional comfort. If the symptoms persist after a duration of time, ear tubes might be recommended to assist draining any fluid that’s accumulated in the ear.
Do your ears constantly hurt during fall time? Is your child tugging their ears throughout the day? Schedule an appointment with a CEENTA otolaryngologist today to discuss diagnosis and treatment options for ear infections.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.
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