Symptoms and Treatment for Viral or Bacterial Ear Infection

Adults, children, and basically everyone that has ears can develop an ear infection at one point in their lives or another. Ear infections that are viral in origin are not quite common compared to bacterial ear infections. While these viral infections are self-limiting, the potential for complications and re-infection is still a cause for alarm.

Viral Ear Infection

  • Refers to an infection involving any part of the ear that is caused by a virus.

  • An ear infection that is viral in origin does happen but is not as common as bacterial infections.

  • Viral infections of the ear can occur as a result of exposure to a virus or it can occur as a result of a systemic viral illness such as the flu or colds.

  • The ears are prone to secondary infections from upper respiratory tract infection because of the presence of the Eustachian tube.

  • The Eustachian tube connects the ears to the nasopharynx.

  • Any infection of the nasal or oral cavities has the potential to spread to the ears through the Eustachian tube.

  • The placement of the child’s Eustachian tubes makes them more prone to ear infections compared to adults.

Viral Ear Infection Symptoms

The symptoms of a viral infection of the ear would depend on which part of the ear is infected or affected.

In adults, the symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Ear ache

  • Hearing loss

  • Feeling of a blockage in the ear

  • Dizziness

In infants, the symptoms include:

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Tugging of one or both ears

  • Fever

  • Ear discharges

  • Loss of balance

  • Signs of hearing difficulties

Viral Ear Infection Treatment

Treatment for a viral infection of the ear would depend on the type of ear infection such as middle ear infection or inner ear infection.

  • Pain relievers – helps relieve the pain that comes with an ear infection.

  • Oral or nasal sprays – helps prevent the spread of nasal or oral infections to the ear.

  • Removing fluid build-up in the inner ear – this can be done through Myringotomy.

  • Preventive measures

    • Avoid forceful nose blowing in the case of colds or respiratory infections.

    • In infants, proper feeding of the baby will help prevent milk and feeding from reaching the Eustachian tube and causing an infection.

    • Strengthen the immune system with vitamin and mineral supplements.

    • When symptoms of an ear infection are noticed, prompt treatment should be sought.

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