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What is an ear infection?

Your ear is a special sense organ that helps you to hear. Your ear is connected to the throat by a tube called as the eustachian (pronounced as u - stay - she - un) tube. This tube helps to maintain the air pressure in the ear. Sometimes, this tube does not work properly. When you get a cold or have an allergy, this tube may get blocked and germs may enter into the ear. These germs then grow inside your ear and cause an infection. Ear infection is very common in small children below 5 years, as the eustachian tube is small and soft in them and tends to get blocked easily.

But then why do I get an earache?

Since the germs tend to grow inside the ear and the eustachian tube is blocked, the pressure within the ear increases causing it to pain. The eardrum may also not move freely and thus you may also have difficulty in listening. Sometimes the infection may burst through your eardrum and pus or liquid may come out from the ear.

So, then how is an ear infection treated?

If you have an earache or have difficulty in hearing, go to your doctor. Your doctor will look into your ear with the help of a special torch. The doctor may also do an audiogram (pronounced as odd - dee - o - gram), a special test to check your hearing. Your doctor will prescribe medicines to cure the infection, which may have to be taken for 5 - 10 days. This medicine will have to be taken for the entire period even if you start feeling better. If your ear aches severely, your doctor shall give you pain relieving medicine. A warm water bottle on the side of the head may also be useful.

How can I prevent myself from getting an ear infection?

The best way to prevent an ear infection is to prevent getting a cold. There is also a shot now available against one of the germ that causes ear infections. Your doctor may give you this shot. And lastly, don't forget, washing your hands often may be the best shot!!

"Runny nose & cold and now a earache,
That my eardrums in pain seemed to break
Infection of the ears it was to speak
But all my ears did were to constantly leak".

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