Understanding Ear Infections
There are two types of ear infections—middle and external—and Dr. Smith says neither is caused by poor ear hygiene.
Middle Ear Infections
This is the most frequent infection that we experience, and it can be viral or bacterial. The former heals on its own, but the latter requires antibiotics. Of course, see your doctor as soon as you feel any pain or pressure.
“The common cause of a middle ear infection (and thus the common cause of most ear infections) is a malfunction of the Eustachian tube,” says Smith. “It runs from the middle ear to the throat. Blockages in this tube can cause buildup of pressure and fluid and lead to an infection.”
External Ear Infections
The ear canal can also become infected. Swimmer’s ear—caused by trapped water that leads to a fungal or bacterial infection—is one such example. If this occurs, see a doctor immediately. He or she will prescribe drops to treat the condition.
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