What Causes Ear Infections

What causes ear infections in children?

Three out of four children under the age of three will have at least one ear infection. Is there a way to prevent them? What causes ear infections?

The most common type of ear infection, known as acute otitis media, happens when fluid builds up behind the ear drum creating bacteria that inflames the middle ear. Ear infections often occur during or just after another respiratory illness, such as a cold. There is little or no way to specifically avoid them, other than taking normal precautions against colds and flu.  Though anyone can get an ear infection - swimmer's ear is an example - children are much more susceptible.  In fact, ear infections are the most common reason parents take their children to the doctor.

There are several reasons why children are more vulnerable to developing ear infections:

  • The eustachian tubes, which drain the middle ear, are smaller and easier to clog. They are also as angled in a way that captures fluid.
  • Children are just in the process of building their immune system
  • Adenoids capture bacteria coming through the nose and mouth. Sometimes trapped bacteria can cause a chronic infection that eventually infects the middle ear.

Get to a FastMed Walk-in Medical Clinic

Remember that many children who have ear infections are too young to talk. If your child is fussy and tugging at his or her ear, you may want to come to FastMed Urgent Care.  Ear infections can be very painful  - the sooner your child is diagnosed, the sooner he or she will feel better. FastMed Urgent Care in Arizona and North Carolina is open 365 days a year, with extended office hours to treat your child for an ear infection.  Don't worry about trying to schedule an appointment, bring your child as soon as you can - we're a walk-in clinic.

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The content presented on this page is not intended to diagnose health problems or take the place of professional medical care.