Alabama doctors expect a rise in ear infections during fall and winter months

CBS 42 Living Local

This CBS 42 Living Local Feature Segment is sponsored by Medical West Hospital.

BESSEMER, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local) – According to Dr. Michael J. Latshaw, the back to school season, and approaching winter months, means that doctors could see an uptick in the rate of middle-ear-infections.

Viruses first cause both outer and inner ear infections. Upper respiratory infections can lead to inner ear infections or middle ear infections. 

Swimmers-ear is an infection of the outer part of the ear that is seen more during the summer months. Latshaw says trauma to the ear canal is the leading causes of swimmers ear, not necessarily swimming as the name suggests.

 “Using q-tips or bobby pens or pencils or any dangerous things to scratch the ear can cause trauma,” Latshaw said.  “And sometimes, up to 80% of the time, those infections will resolve on their own. If the symptoms get worse, or the fever is high, and the kids are fussy, we will either give oral antibiotics or drops,” said Latshaw.

If you feel a sensation that your ears are full, or that they need to pop, that could indicate a problem with your eustachian tube.

 “It’s a short tube that is made of cartilage and bone and is part of the ventilation system for the ear. If this tube is not working, it leads to pressure building up behind the eardrum. There is a new technology that allows us to open up the nasal portion of that tube with a balloon,” Latshaw said.

This procedure is done under general anesthesia and can help people who experience pressure and fullness in their ears. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Latshaw, visit www.medicalwesthospital.org.

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