The ear is a complex organ located near the brain and directly connected to the nasopharynx by the auditory tube. In infants, this passage is wider and shorter than in children 4 to 5 years old, which facilitates the penetration of infection into the middle ear for colds.
The most common cause of ear pain is an inflammatory process that occurs either in the outer ear (auricle and external auditory canal) or in the middle ear (tympanic cavity and membrane, auditory tube, mastoid cells of the temporal bone). It is important to consider that the auditory tube connects the tympanic cavity, on the one hand, and the nasopharynx, on the other.
Inflammation of the outer ear (otitis externa) results in swelling and redness of the skin around the ear canal. The reasons may be: an infection that has got through microcracks into the skin, inflammation of the hair follicle (furuncle) in the external auditory canal. When the skin is infected with group A steptococci, erysipelas occurs, edema and redness of the auricle, the appearance of blisters on the skin of the external auditory canal. At the same time, the body temperature rises sharply, up to 39оС.
Inflammation of the middle ear (acute otitis media) most often occurs as a result of a cold and infection from the nasopharynx into the middle ear through the auditory tube. In children under 3 years of age, the auditory tube is wider and shorter than in older children, which makes it easier for infection to penetrate. Lack of protective blood proteins (antibodies) that a baby can get from breast milk also makes inflammation easier. In addition, babies are more likely to be in a horizontal position for longer, which leads to stagnation of mucus in the nasopharynx and the spread of infection to the middle ear. Otitis media in infants can be caused by the ingress of milk or mixture from the nasopharynx into the middle ear.
The main manifestation of acute otitis media is pain in the ear, which the baby notifies with a cry, he tends to lie on a large ear, refuses to eat, because sucking and swallowing increases the pain. Sometimes very quickly, in one day, acute otitis media turns into purulent, pus breaks through the eardrum and is released from the outer ear. With a rapid course of the disease and untimely treatment started, complications are possible: mastoiditis (inflammation of the mastoid process of the temporal bone), characterized by pain in the ear region, its redness and swelling; irritation syndrome of the lining of the brain, to which inflammation can spread. It is expressed in convulsions, vomiting, decreased motor activity.
For any ear disease, it is necessary to call a doctor, since dangerous forms of otitis media can occur both with inflammation of the outer ear and with inflammation of the middle ear. The doctor prescribes antibiotics and local treatment (warming, compresses, ear drops, vasoconstrictor nasal drops). Before the arrival of the doctor, if there is no purulent discharge, you need to warm the ear with a compress or insert cotton wool soaked in boric alcohol into the ear, or warm it in any other way to relieve pain.
For an alcohol or vodka compress, take a four-layer gauze napkin 1, 5 - 2 cm larger than the auricle, make a slot for the ear in the middle, moisten the napkin in vodka or alcohol solution (the ratio of water to spirit is 1: 1) and apply to the ear, placing the ear sink into the slot. Put waxed paper on top, also 1, 5 - 2 cm more gauze, cover with a piece of cotton wool that will overlap the paper. Secure the compress with a handkerchief by tying it over the baby's head. Keep the compress for 3 to 4 hours. With purulent otitis media, compresses and warming up are categorically contraindicated.
Warm ear drops with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect to body temperature by dipping a pipette with a dose of drops into hot water. Roll the cotton swab and gently place it in the ear canal.Warm medicine should be applied to this cotton wool 3-4 times a day. It is not recommended to bury drops in the ear, since with purulent otitis media, that is, with a damaged eardrum, they can get into the middle ear and bring great harm instead of benefit.
When treating otitis media, it is necessary to provide the baby with free nasal breathing. Free your nasal passages of mucus with a suction bulb and flagella, twisted from cotton wool and soaked in baby massage oil. Turn babies from one side to the other to avoid stagnation of mucus in the nasopharynx. Put a scarf or cap on the child's head that covers the ears. It is not recommended to bathe the child during illness, you can only walk when the pain in the ear disappears.