If you have allergies and experience frequent middle ear infections, you may be interested to learn that the two conditions are closely linked. In this post we review how to recognize an ear infection, why there’s a link between allergies and ear infections, and how to manage allergies.
How to Recognize an Ear Infection
If you have an ear infection, you may experience:
- Discomfort or mild pain in the ears
- Pressure in the ears
- Pus-like drainage from the ears
- Hearing loss
- Balance problems
These symptoms may come and go or be persistent.
If your young child has an ear infection, you may notice them:
- Rubbing or tugging on their ears
- Not reacting to certain sounds
- Having balance problems
- Running a fever
- Being fussy or restless
- Not wanting to eat
Why Allergies & Ear Infections Are Linked
In order to understand the link between allergies and ear infections it’s important to understand the role of the Eustachian tubes. These tubes connect the middle ears to the back of the throat, and their job is to allow fluid to drain from the middle ears and to allow air pressure to equalize.
When you have allergy symptoms, the Eustachian tubes can become inflamed. This inflammation can block the Eustachian tubes, causing fluid to become trapped. This can lead to growth of bacteria within the middle ears, resulting in an infection.
How to Manage Allergies
Managing allergies is key to preventing ear infections. There are several options for this, including:
- Getting an allergy test. Allergy tests reveal exactly what you’re allergic to. And once you know, you can start practicing avoidance.
- Practicing avoidance. This depends on what you’re allergic to, but may entail staying indoors when pollen counts are high, carefully reading food labels, keeping away from tall grass at Dilworth Park, cleaning your house regularly and making sure pets stay out of bedrooms.
- Taking medications. Antihistamines, decongestants and steroid nasal sprays can all be effective for managing allergy symptoms. Some can be taken daily while others are for short-term use only.
- Undergoing immunotherapy. Immunotherapy works by introducing small amounts of allergen extracts into the body to help the immune system build up a tolerance. This long-term form of allergy treatment is available in both shot and drop form.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.