Do you experience chronic ear infections? Do you also suffer from allergies? It turns out, the two conditions can be closely linked. We review this link as well as how to find relief below.
How Do Allergies Cause Ear Infections?
The Eustachian tubes are passageways between the middle ears and the back of the throat. Their job is to allow fluid to drain from the middle ear and air pressure to equalize between your middle ears and environment.
When you experience allergy symptoms, your nasal passageways, sinuses and even Eustachian tubes become inflamed. This inflammation causes the Eustachian tubes to become blocked and fluid to become trapped in the middle ear. This can then become a breeding ground for bacteria. A middle ear infection is the result.
This can also occur due to a viral infection, like the common cold.
How to Manage Allergies to Prevent Ear Infections
There are three main ways to manage allergies:
- You can practice avoidance by monitoring pollen counts, delegating outside chores, keeping your home clean and dry, keeping pets out of bedrooms, installing a HEPA filter and reading food labels carefully at Sprouts Farmers Market.
- You can take medications such as antihistamines, decongestants and steroid nasal sprays. Some allergy medications can be taken daily while others can only be used short-term. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist to determine what dosage is appropriate for your needs.
- You can talk to your doctor about immunotherapy, a long-term allergy solution that works by introducing small amounts of allergen extracts into your body so the immune system can build up a tolerance. Immunotherapy is available in both shot and drop form.
How to Treat Ear Infections
Most ear infections will resolve on their own after one to two weeks. For mild infections, most doctors prefer to take a wait-and-see approach.
If you or your child is experiencing discomfort from an ear infection, you can:
- Apply a warm compress to the ear.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication.
- Use over-the-counter eardrops.
- Take over-the-counter decongestants.
- Avoid sleeping on the affected ear.
If the infection persists or is accompanied by a fever over 102 degrees, a doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics.
For children who experience persistent ear infections, ear tubes may be surgically placed to help fluid drain. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an ear expert, call ENT of Georgia North today.