Most clinical visits in a year are due to ear infections. The question of "Are ear infections contagious?" remains a doubt for many, and it will be cleared in this article.
One of the most common woes of childhood is the problem of ear infections, although adults are not immune to the condition. Studies reveal that, in a group of 4 kids of the age 3, one has this problem. Fortunately, the problem does not take up a severe form, as most of them are known to be self-resolving and tend to clear on their own within a few days. It has also been found that most kids, when they reach the age of 4 or 5, they somehow stop developing them. As in the case of adults, they rarely contract such infections. So, are ear infections contagious or not? Find out from the paragraphs below.
Transmission of the Infection
Remember, that this infection cannot be transmitted from one person to another. In other words, it is NOT contagious. However, one of its causes is a virus that causes cold, and this pathogen is readily contagious. Meaning, the cold can be passed from the affected person to another, which later may develop into this problem. To put in other words, the condition is not directly contagious, but it may be, with the help of some secondary infections such as cold.
Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
A viral infection, such as a cold, is known to be a common cause. Eustachian tubes are the narrow passages that serve as a connecting medium between the middle ear and the nose. These passages may suffer blockage due to the development of cold. And this blockage may also be one of the causes of this condition. The reason infants and small kids tend to be more vulnerable to developing it is one that they have narrower and shorter Eustachian tubes, which are also angled. So, this anatomy makes way for bacteria to migrate from the nose and throat up into the middle ear. However, with time, the tube becomes more vertical and lengthens. This makes it difficult for the pathogens to travel and thus, reduces the risk.
The causes are also related to the malfunction of what are known as adenoids. These are tissues, which contain cells that serve to fight off infections. However, in some cases, they get infected or suffer enlargement. As a result of this, the Eustachian tubes get blocked thus, causing an infection. And due to obvious reasons, kids do not possess a fully developed immune system, and so, they are easily vulnerable to such diseases.
Symptoms include earache, hearing problems, fever of 100°F or higher, fluid drainage, and headaches. One may feel a pull at his ears and kids may cry more than usual and be unusually irritable. Trouble sleeping and dizziness are also some symptoms to be watched out for.
As aforesaid, most cases subside by themselves, and that is the reason most doctors advise a wait-and-watch approach for the first 72 hours. This may be applicable for kids older than 6 months, who are otherwise healthy and have mild symptoms. The pain can be tackled with the help of pain killers. Although antibiotics provide good treatment, around 80% of kids recover without any drugs.
At home, you can place apply a warm cloth over the affected area, and you may apply a few drops of garlic juice. This is one effective remedy to reduce the discomfort. Alternatively, pouring some drops of lukewarm olive oil or lobelia extract, also does the trick. Using colloidal silver or warm juice of mango leaf may also help provide relief from the discomfort.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.