How do Kids get Ear Infections?

Otitis in children: causes, symptoms, treatment

Otitis classification

There are three types of otitis media, depending on the location of inflammation:

  1. External otitis.
  2. Otitis media
  3. Labyrinth or internal otitis.

Quite often, there is such a picture that initially the child had external otitis. But as a result of improper or late treatment, otitis media is transferred to the middle ear. If you do not start treatment, inflammation passes into the inner ear.

External otitis is an inflammation of the outer part of the ear canal and auricle of a child. Doctors divide external otitis into two categories: when the inflammatory process of the external ear is observed throughout the course of the disease - diffuse, and when the inflammation is localized in one place where the formation of a boil is observed - limited.

Otitis media is the most common variant of otitis media in children. In infants under the age of 1 year, among all types of otitis, inflammation of the middle ear is diagnosed in 90%.By the nature of the course of the disease, otitis media can be chronic, acute or recurrent. There are also two types of acute otitis media: purulent and catarrhal. During the development of otitis media in a child, there are five stages of the disease:

  1. Acute inflammation of the auditory tube - Eustachitis. An increase in the temperature of a child’s body can only occur as a result of an infection. There are complaints about a feeling of stuffiness and noise in the ear.
  2. Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the middle ear - catarrhal inflammation. The child has sharp pains in the inflamed ear. Sensation of noise and congestion increase.
  3. The preperforative stage of purulent ear inflammation. At this stage, the child has the strongest pain. They can cause pain in the eyes, cheeks, neck, teeth. Body temperature can rise to 38-39 oC. As a result of a blood test, an inflammatory process is diagnosed.
  4. Postperformative stage of inflammation. There is a release of pus from the ear canal as a result of the eruption of the eardrum (perforation). The pain in the patient at this stage is reduced, but the restoration of hearing has not yet occurred.Temperature, as a rule, is normalized.

The chronic course of middle ear inflammation can be divided into three categories:

  1. Purulent otitis.
  2. Exudative otitis.
  3. Adhesive otitis media.

Inflammation of the inner ear can be acute or chronic, limited or diffuse. The inflammation itself can be characterized in the form: serous, necrotic or purulent.

Otitis can be classified by quantity. There is one-sided otitis, when only one ear has been subjected to inflammation, or double-sided otitis when the patient complains of symptoms in both ears.

What are the causes of otitis in children?

Otitis in a child, depending on the method of occurrence, is divided into three types:

  1. Allergic.
  2. Traumatic.
  3. Infectious.

If otitis in an adult is quite rare, then in a child it is a fairly common disease. This is due to the special structure of the Eustachian tube. In childhood, the ear tube has practically no bends. With a smaller length, it has a large width. In adults, the Eustachian tube is changing and looks completely different. As a result of this feature, the mucus formed in the nasopharynx can easily get into the ear and cause a pressure change in the eardrum as a result of ventilation problems.In this case, the occurrence of the inflammatory process.

Formation of external otitis most often occurs in case of improper conduct of hygiene procedures. Due to the violation of the integrity of the skin on the ear and infection in the wound, the ear is inflamed. It is possible to provoke otitis externa even by ordinary brushing with a stiff brush. Inflammation of the external part of the ear canal is possible as a result of water ingress and stagnation after water procedures and swimming in the pool.

In a child and in an adult, otitis media is possible for a variety of reasons. The most frequent are allergic reactions that cause swelling of the mucous membranes, infections through the ear injuries, and the occurrence of inflammation in the nasopharynx. Ordinary snot, which was not cured in time, can easily lead to otitis media. Also, the causes of otitis can be:

  1. Chronic sinusitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis or rhinitis.
  2. Supercooling of the body.
  3. Enlarged tonsils and adenoiditis in chronic form.
  4. Reduced immunity as a result of the presence of certain diseases (AIDS, leukemia, rickets, a decrease in the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood, weight deficit).

The occurrence of internal otitis is most often a complication after the wrong or untimely treatment of external or average otitis. But the appearance of internal otitis as a result of injury or an infectious disease in the body is also characteristic. In the second case, the infection penetrates the inner ear through the blood or the meninges.

Symptoms of otitis externa in children

Each type of otitis in a child is distinguished by its symptoms. External otitis in a baby is diagnosed by the presence of edema of the auricle. The child may complain of itching and soreness. And parents may notice that the ear has a red color. If you measure the temperature, it is very likely that it will be increased. When a child opens his mouth or tries to chew, the pain only intensifies. An increase in pain is also observed when stifling the auricle.

Doctors distinguish two types of otitis externa: diffuse and limited.

In case of diffuse otitis, the child has inflammation of the ear canal completely. Very often, blisters appear on the skin of the ear. If the cause of otitis is a fungus, then you can notice the peeling of the skin on the ear.In addition, the child will feel quite severe itching.

The manifestation of limited external otitis is characteristic only in the event that inflammation of the sebaceous gland or hair bulb occurs within the external auditory canal or auricle. After reddening, a boil appears on the skin. At the same time, there is a marked increase in lymph nodes behind the auricle. The pain is reduced only after the boil breaks. In no case can not independently pierce the abscess. Thus, you can only exacerbate the situation. After all the pus is out, a small depression remains, which will subsequently heal.

Symptoms of otitis media in children

Catarrhal otitis media has the following symptoms:

  1. Feeling weak and lethargic.
  2. The child has restless sleep. In the period of wakefulness, he is capricious and does not eat well.
  3. A small child complains of earache, which can be pulsating, sharp and shooting. If it is suspected average otitis in infants, then you can click on the ear tragus. If a baby's response becomes a scream and an attempt to move away from the finger, then most likely he has otitis.
  4. The temperature can increase dramatically up to 40 ° C.
  5. Decreased hearing, sensation of tinnitus.
  6. Sometimes a child may have a loose stool or diarrhea.

If you do not start treatment in time, after a day the catarrhal form of otitis can turn into purulent. Pathogenic bacteria multiply very quickly in ear exudate. The characteristic symptoms of purulent otitis are acute and very severe ear pain and a feeling of congestion. The pain is stronger, the higher the pressure on the eardrum. If a perforation of the eardrum occurs inside the ear, then the feeling of pain decreases dramatically.

The serous form of otitis media has a sluggish process. The fluid accumulated in the ear is not purulent. It can last from several weeks to several months.

Chronic otitis media is characterized by periodic appearance of pus in the ear. Perforation of the eardrum does not overgrow for a very long time. The child complains of tinnitus and hearing loss.

Symptoms of labyrinthitis in children

Inflammation of the inner ear has an acute and chronic course. Signs of acute otitis media include noise in the inflamed ear, hearing loss, dizziness and imbalance, nausea and vomiting. Also, the patient's skin color changes on the face.If otitis has a serous type, then after 14-21 days the symptoms disappear and the hearing is restored. If the labyrinthitis has a purulent character, the dysfunction of the ear is persistent.

If the labyrinthitis has become chronic, then the patient can observe a fistula symptom, a violation of the proper functioning of the inner ear, periodic dizziness and nausea. Among all these symptoms, the most important is a fistula symptom or spontaneous nystagmus in the direction of the patient ear. It occurs as a result of thickening and discharging of air in the ear as a result of the formation of a fistula.

How to treat otitis media in children?

Otitis treatment must be carried out under the supervision of a physician. Self-medication can lead to adverse effects.

Outdoor otitis media can be treated at home. Until the boil is ripe and an abscess forms, only alcohol compresses and anti-inflammatory drugs are used. The doctor can open the boil. As a result, the cavity is drained and cleaned by chlorhexidine, Miramistin or another antiseptic drug.Then a bandage is applied with ointment, which will need to be changed periodically. If a child has a fever or inflamed lymph nodes, then antibiotics are prescribed by a doctor.

If otitis is formed as a result of a fungal infection, antimycotic drugs are prescribed for external and internal use.

Treatment of otitis media is also most often done at home. If the cause of otitis is allergy, then antihistamines are used. If otitis is viral, antiviral drugs are used. In the presence of an elevated temperature, the patient must be given antipyretic drugs.

In some cases, for children older than two years, doctors use expectant tactics with the use of painkillers and antipyretics. Depending on whether unilateral or bilateral otitis media, physiotherapy is performed for one or both ears.

If the patient has severe pain and a purulent form of otitis, then surgical intervention is possible for artificial perforation of the eardrum.

Treatment of labyrinthitis is made only in the hospital.If you do not go to a medical facility in time and treat your child with folk remedies, the baby can completely or partially lose its hearing. In addition, cerebral circulation and the transition of the disease to meningitis or sepsis can be impaired.

Video: Ear Infection Symptoms & Treatment Options

otitis externa case review
Otitis in children: causes, symptoms, treatment

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