November 29, 2011

Ear Infection : Causes And Treatments

Ear infection is one of the nagging and painful diseases in the world. You cannot hear properly, there is continuous headache or pain in the ear or there may be nausea and vomiting. Ear infection is also very common in children. As there are three parts in our ears – the external ear, middle ear and the inner ear – ear infection is also categorized according to these parts.

External ear is comprised of the pinna (fan shaped part, extreme end of the ear), the ear canal and the tympanic membrane. Ear infection in the external ear is called ‘Otitis externa’. This is the commonest type of ear infection. There is inflammation of either the pinna or the canal of the ear. Bacterial infection is common for both the child and adult age group. There may be fungal infection (candidial infection) of the skin of the ear canal (Otomycosis). This is an extremely painful condition of the ear; even pressing the outer ear can cause severe pain (diagnostic point). Swimmers can be affected frequently by the bacteria present in contaminated water. Ear wax can lead to outer ear infection, if gets impacted and secondarily infected by bacteria.

Ear infection involving the middle ear is called ‘Otitis media’. This is common in early childhood. There is a connection from the nasopharynx and the middle ear called ‘Eustachian tube’. This maintains the barometric pressure balance between the ear and the outer environment. In any case, if bacteria or virus can get entry to the middle ear through this tube, it can cause severe damage. The acute otitis media is mainly seen in children and is viral in origin. It usually follows if a child has recurrent upper respiratory tract infection. It is self-limiting and does not cause much harm. But sometimes the infection can reach to the meninges (outer covering of the brain matter) producing meningitis. It is a life threatening condition.

In children, effusion can be present in the middle ear infection and can be seen through examination of the tympanic membrane. This condition is called ‘Glue ear’ or secretory otitis media. This is again viral in origin.

The most dangerous ear infection is, by far, the chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). It may be associated with perforation of the tympanic membrane causing deafness. Spread of the infection to the meninges may cause meningitis and extension to the small bones present in the middle ear cavity (maleus, incus and stapes) will produce pain and some degree of deafness.

Infection of the inner ear is not very common compared to the external and the middle ear cavity. However, ear infection can do occur in the cochlea and the vestibular apparatus present in the inner ear. Inner ear infection usually follows infection in either the external or the middle ear.

Pain in the ear is typically present in all otitis externa, but not always in otitis media. There may be some degree of deafness in both the occasions, which again depends upon the severity and place of ear infection. It is usually associated with different degrees of fever, body ache, nausea and vomiting. Ear infection in a child can make him irritable and crying.

Diagnosis is dependent upon complains and investigations like clinical examination of the ear, X-ray PNS and skull, CT scan and MRI scan of the head and neck.

Treatment of ear infection is done by antibiotics and proper pain killers. The choice of antibiotic will vary depending upon the suspected cause of infection.

Treatments for Sunburn

Each summer, sunburn is one of the most common complaints of people who spend lots of time outdoors gardening or long days at the beach. Even though some people with certain skin types are more prone to sunburn than others that still doesn’t stop them from enjoying the beauty of the day during the summer. For those of us who don’t enjoy wearing sun block, sun burn can be a very painful and excruciating skin irritation. Here are some of the best methods I have found for treating and healing sunburn over the years, as opposed to spending money on more expensive over the counter remedies for sunburn.

One of the best treatments I have found for treating sunburn is to use natural straight from the source aloe. Cut the top of an aloe leaf from the plant and squeeze a generous amount of the natural aloe plant liquid onto the sunburn and rub it thoroughly into the skin. Don’t worry about ruining the plant by taking off part of the leaf. Aloe plants have a tendency to bounce back quickly and regenerate leaves. Add a little aloe extract to warm bath water for even more smooth skin to heal the sunburn and turn your burn into a natural bronzed tan. Using aloe straight from the plant to treat sunburn will heal the sunburn within one to three days.

Even though you may not enjoy the odor, a warm water bath with one cup of vinegar thrown in the bath will help to ease the itch and discomfort of sunburn. Soak in the bath for fifteen to twenty minutes and clean as you’re normally will during a bath. Even though buttermilk has its own rather pungent aroma, it is also a good bath time remedy for sunburn. Using Vinegar or buttermilk to treat the sunburn will give you a naturally tanned look, while softening the skin, perhaps even lessening the appearance of other skin conditions such as acne.

Sunburn is the byproduct of extremely dried skin. To promote healing of sunburn, use a generous amount of hemorrhoid cream such as Preparation H on sunburn. This will moisten the skin, while healing the physical components of sunburn such as peeling skin and blotchy red skin. Using hemorrhoid cream to treat sunburn will immediately penetrate the skin to begin restoring lost moisture, while promoting soft skin and lessening the symptoms of other skin conditions such as acne.