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Otitis Media(Ear Infection) IN CHILDREN
Otitis Media is an infection or inflammation of the middle ear. This condition occurs when the Eustachian tube becomes inflamed following a cold, sinus or throat infection, allergic reaction, or is blocked by enlarged adenoid tissue. Fluid accumulates in the middle ear and may become infected.
Bacteria are the primary causes of otitis media and are detected in 70% of cases. Viruses are not usually a direct cause of otitis media, cause inflammation in the nasal passages and impair defense systems, such as cilia, in the ear. Although this condition occurs most often in children one to three years of age, older children and adults may develop it as well.
Why is Otitis Media so common in children?
There are various reasons why children are more likely to suffer from Otitis Media than adults.
- Young children have more trouble fighting infections because their immune systems are still developing.
- The eustachian tube is shorter and more horizontal in a child than in adults. A blocked Eustachian tube, either due to swelling of its lining or plugged with mucus, cannot open properly to ventilate the middle ear. This in turn impedes the drainage of fluid from the middle ear tissue, which collects in the middle ear. Also, the angle of the Eustachian tube in children makes it easier for bacteria from the nose and throat to enter the middle ear.
- Enlarged adenoids represent another factor that makes children more susceptible to Otitis Media. Adenoids are positioned in the back of the upper part of the throat near the Eustachian tubes. When enlarged, they can interfere with the Eustachian tube opening. In addition, adenoids may themselves get infected, thereby spreading infection into the Eustachian tubes.
Last updated on 23-02-2001
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