Ear Infection Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Middle ear infections are one of the most common childhood problems. Let’s start by talking about infections.

An infection happens when germs like bacteria and viruses get inside the body and cause trouble. Germs can get into your ears. The ear is divided into three parts: outer, middle, and inner.

When the germs bother your outer ear, it’s called swimmer’s ear.

The middle ear is a small pocket of air behind the eardrum. You have a middle ear infection when germs get into the middle ear and the area fills up with fluid (or pus), which contains germ-fighting cells.

When the pus builds up, your ear starts to feel like a balloon that is ready to pop, which can really hurt.


An acute ear infection causes pain (earache). In infants, the clearest sign is often irritability and inconsolable crying. Many infants and children develop a fever or have trouble sleeping.

Parents often think that tugging on the ear is a symptom of an ear infection, but studies have shown that the same number of children going to the doctor tug on the ear whether or not the ear is infected.

Other possible symptoms include:

•  Fullness in the ear
•  Feeling of general illness
•  Vomiting
•  Diarrhea
•  Hearing loss in the affected ear

The child may have symptoms of a cold, or the ear infection may start shortly after having a cold.

All acute ear infections include fluid behind the eardrum. You can use an electronic ear monitor, such as EarCheck, to detect this fluid at home. The device is available at pharmacies.


Ear infections are common in infants and children in part because their eustachian tubes become clogged easily. For each ear, a eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat. Its purpose is to drain fluid and bacteria that normally occurs in the middle ear. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up and become infected.

Anything that causes the eustachian tubes and upper airways to become inflamed or irritated, or cause more fluids to be produced, can lead to a blocked eustachian tube.

These include:

•  Colds and sinus infections
•  Allergies
•  Tobacco smoke or other irritants
•  Infected or overgrown adenoids
•  Excess mucus and saliva produced during teething

Ear infections are also more likely if a child spends a lot of time drinking from a sippy cup or bottle while lying on his or her back. Contrary to popular opinion, getting water in the ears will not cause an acute ear infection, unless the eardrum has a hole from a previous episode.


What can kids do to prevent ear infections? You can avoid places where people are smoking, for one. Cigarette smoke can keep your eustachian tubes from working properly.

You also can try not to catch colds.

These steps can help:

•  Stay away from people who have colds, if possible.
•  Wash your hands regularly.
•  Try not to touch your nose and eyes.

Home Remedies

•  Use Colloidal silver, as an ear wash, it can be taken orally too. This is a natural antibiotic.
•  Use ajwain oil as an ear drop for earache relief.
•  Using ear candles available from health stores can also help draw impurities out of the ear.
•  Fill a small bag with salt and press it against the ear.
•  Dropping few drops of hydrogen peroxide in to your ear will cure you of the infection.
•  Consume a lot of vitamin C. It helps in fighting infection.
•  Make a mixture by adding 1 tablespoon of almond carrier oil, 2 drops of lavender essential oil, 2 drops of chamomile oil and 3 drops of tea tree essential oil. Warm this mixture and add 2 drops thrice a day to the infected ear.