Ear Infections (cont.)
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Middle ear infections are caused by bacteria and viruses.
During a cold, sinus or throat infection, or an allergy attack, the eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ears to the throat, can become blocked. This stops fluid from draining from the middle ear. This fluid is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria or viruses to grow into an ear infection.
Causes of fluid buildup
When swelling from an upper respiratory infection or allergy blocks the eustachian tube, air can't reach the middle ear. This creates a vacuum and suction, which pulls fluid and germs from the nose and throat into the middle ear. The swollen tube prevents this fluid from draining. An ear infection begins when bacteria or viruses in the trapped fluid grow into an infection.
Inflammation and fluid buildup can occur without infection and cause a feeling of stuffiness in the ears. This is known as otitis media with effusion.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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