Ear infections can affect the ear canal, the middle ear(sections of your ear just behind the eardrum), and the inner ear. A middle ear infection occurs when bacteria or viruses infect the Eustachian tube, a small drainage tube that runs from the ear to the back of the throat. When this tube is blocked or inflamed, fluid may build up within the middle ear. An outer ear infection occurs when the lining of the ear canal becomes inflamed or infected by bacteria, viruses, or a fungus. The inner ear controls your balance and hearing, and when the inner ear gets infected or inflamed, it can cause a type of balance disorder known as labyrinthitis. Labyrinthitis not only can affect your hearing, but it can make you feel dizzy, and can even cause something more severe, such as vertigo, which is a sudden feeling that you or your head is spinning.
The symptoms of an ear infection in adults are:
In children, the symptoms are:
Although ear infections are not contagious, the bacteria and viruses that cause them are. Here’s how you can prevent an ear infection:
Different treatments are available depending on the type of ear infection.
If you think you have an ear infection, you can come into any Patient First center from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. any day of the week – no appointment needed.
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