Otitis media is an infection of the space behind the eardrum housing the vibrating bones that transfer sound to the inner ear. The condition can occur due to viral or bacterial infection of the ear, resulting in symptoms of earache, pain, fever, chills, vertigo, and a loss of balance. Otitis media infections occur more commonly in children than in adults, and the symptoms can be far more severe in kids.
With otitis media, fluids begin to build in the hollow space behind the eardrums. Bacterial infections causing otitis media are typically aggressive and require treatment with antibiotics to clear the infection. However, cases of viral otitis media usually go away on their own in a few days, without the assistance of drugs.
There are many causes of viral and bacterial otitis media infection. Here are eight causes of middle ear infection and how you can prevent your family from receiving the virus or bacteria that cause the condition.
1. Swimming in Polluted Water
As the summertime approaches, family’s start to plan their vacations. Many choose to visit places close to large bodies of water, such as lakes or the ocean. Swimming in the sea is plenty of fun, but it presents health hazards to the uninformed – particularly after a rainstorm. When the seasonal rains start, they wash all of the feces and other toxins – such as fuel and oil off of the streets and into the sea.
As a result, the family on vacation may end up sharing the water with numerous strains of infectious bacteria and viruses. When water traps in the ear, the person may become infected with a pathogen, resulting in a case of otitis media.
People swimming in any body of water fed by a river or sewage system may unknowingly expose themselves or their family members to infection. In most cases, these types of infections take a few hours to start to display symptoms of pain and discomfort associated with a middle ear infection.