Otitis: What is it, symptoms, treatment and prevention

The different kinds of otitis that exist, have in common that they come from an infection that affects the ear. At the same time, what makes them different from each other is the specific area of ​​the ear that they have affected. But they are also differentiated by the severity of the disease. However, It is mostly a benign condition, and that is why we tell you everything you need to know about otitis and its types.

This is a disease that can appear in people of any age, although it is more common in children than in adults. There is an estimate that indicates that 60% of children under 4 years of age are more likely to suffer from otitis. AND approximately 80% of children have suffered from this disease before reaching the age of 6.

What is otitis about?

Otitis is known as a frequent infection caused by bacteria, which affects children most of all. In other words, it is an infectious process that occurs in the ear canal. This process is often very acute, but it could develop into a chronic disease. It usually takes place in the middle ear or also in the outer ear.

One of the most common diseases in childhood it is middle ear otitis, especially between the ages of two months to two years. Probably middle ear water otitis is one of the most common diagnoses, for which doctors prescribe antibiotics worldwide.

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Ear anatomy

Before talking in more detail about the types of otitis, you must first understand what the anatomy of the ear is like.

Outer ear

It encompasses what is the pinna, as well as the conduit that is located in the background passing the eardrum or tympanic membrane. This is a very delicate membrane that is responsible for closing the auditory canal from the outside, separating it from the cavity of the middle ear. Under normal conditions, it is usually translucent and has bright grayish tones.

The sound is captured and channeled through this part until it reaches the eardrum, which vibrates when making contact with the sound waves. The glands of the ear are responsible for secreting earwax, to acidify the canal and also to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Middle ear

After the eardrum there is an air-filled cavity, where there are small hammer, stapes and anvil bones. Which are responsible for the transmission of vibrations that are captured by the eardrum, until they reach the liquids that the inner ear has.

This room has a mucus that covers it and since it is the same that is found in the nose, colds can occur inside the middle ear. For auditory functions to function properly, the air must have the same pressure as the external environment. Otherwise, disturbances may occur.

When there are pressure changes, like when traveling by plane for example, there is a tube inside the ear connecting the back of the nose, called the Eustachian tube. Which naturally opens when yawning or swallowing. The function of this tube is to provide air to the tympanic cage, making the internal pressure equal to that of the environment.

Inner ear

It is a pair of cavities that are filled with fluid, and are in the internal part of the temporal bone. The stirrup is responsible for transmitting all the vibrations that come from the external environment to said liquid, through a window that is in the bone. All these vibrations are absorbed by special cells, which are responsible for transforming them into electrical stimuli. Traveling through the acoustic nerve to the brain, and there they are interpreted as sounds.

The second liquid-covered cavity is formed by channels, constituting the three dimensions of said space and also intervenes in balance. Thus, at the moment the person moves, the movement made by the liquid will inform the brain, the direction in which the person is moving.

Types of otitis

Once the anatomy of the ear is known, it is easier to know which ones about the types of otitis.

Acute external otitis

Commonly known as swimmer's ear, this type of otitis occurs when the bacteria responsible for the infection cause damage to the skin of the ear. Generally causing significant discomfort in the affected area, and different levels of swelling. To make a diagnosis, it is necessary to rely on the appearance of earache. Which can spread towards the jaw and be more water towards the pinna.

Other of the otitis symptoms external are ear canal hypersensitivity and erythema. Edema may appear on the eardrum, although this does not usually affect hearing.

Malignant external otitis

This is one of the most serious cases of external otitis. An infection like this otitis, usually evolves in the appearance of necrotic tissue, with the separation of soft tissues, including cartilage and also bone. The symptoms that occur in this type of otitis are worrisome, such as intense pain, seropurulent secretions and both the pinna and other areas will be inflamed.

Watery otitis media

The middle ear is the part most affected by this kind of otitis. Adenoids are inflamed, which can easily affect the ear causing acute otitis media. When it comes to adults, this otitis can be caused by the presence of a very bad cold. Especially when it is associated with pharyngitis.

However, this is only one of the causes of otitis most common average. Since the complications of an infectious disease, it could cause otitis. In certain cases, although very rare, otitis media can be caused by trauma to the external ear.

Chronic otitis media

If otitis media takes too long to heal, or reappears after it has healed, this infection is considered chronic otitis media. By not receiving proper treatment, otitis will worsen and there will be no way to cure it.

Normally this otitis appears as if it were a purulent otitis, but in this case the eardrum will be perforated. The suppuration will extend towards the tympanic cage, affecting the bone and being constantly active in that area. Apart from this, very sharp episodes may occur intermittently.

One of the symptoms that characterizes this class of otitis is the constant expulsion of pus through the ear. There are some cases where acute episodes with mucus formation do not develop, and in there when the affected person does not present pain. However, hearing ability will decrease significantly.

Treatment for otitis

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Depending on the types of infection a person has, the treatment for otitis will be different.

The usual treatment for watery otitis media consists of antibiotics for approximately fourteen days. Although all otitis are not usually treated with drugs. Symptoms often improve within 48 hours, once the medications are administered. The doctor will also prescribe decongestants, as well as mucolytics if necessary.

In this case, the otitis appears constantly and frequently, but also the source of the infection is suspected, as in the case of chronic adenoiditis, the treatment will be more specific.

There are several cases, especially when it comes to children, otitis media presents as recurrent episodes, combined with symptoms of adenoiditis, as well as adenoid hypertrophy. Because of this, surgery will have to be carried out to remove the hypertrophic adenoid tissue. To later place some transtympanic drainage tubes.

Acute stages of otitis require the use of analgesics, to alleviate the pain that may occur in the infection. The idea of ​​the drugs is to reduce congestion and inflammation, with the aim of alleviating the disease. Some specialists do not recommend using them unless the patient suffers from allergic rhinitis. Corticosteroids are also often prescribed, but most patients should avoid using them. Especially when it comes to children.

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