Coughs, stuffy nose and fever are common signs of getting sick. No matter the measures taken to help prevent it, certain illnesses can be infectious and may spread quickly. An ear can become infected when the body becomes sick due to flu or allergies or even the common cold — any type of illness that would affect the nose or throat. These body parts are connected through the sinuses and are affected by each other, like how it hurts the throat if water rushes through the nose. In cases like this, the infection will usually go away with the initial illness but can stick around for a short while after. An infected ear can often turn a bright shade of red and be warm to the touch.
It is common for ear infections to clear up on their own. During the period of infection, the affected ear will probably be uncomfortable, itchy, red, warm and have some sort of hearing problems and sensitivity. These too should clear up along with the initial cause.
While it is a challenge to avoid an ear infection if it happens due to a common cold, it is still possible to lessen the chances of it. Hygiene plays a huge part in preventing illness. If the body and the environment around it is kept sufficiently clean then harmful bacteria, mold and viruses will have less of a chance to evolve and spread. The ear is constantly exposed to all sorts of debris and thus is at risk of being infected by it. Cleaning the outer ear is a great way to prevent anything from getting into the inner ear. Washing with warm water and soap during a shower will suffice in most cases.
The ear does have natural defenses too. Earwax does an excellent job of capturing any invasive particles and usually tends to fall out on its own. Using a cotton swab to clean the inside of the ear is not only unnecessary but can actually be dangerous and can cause problems that can lead to some form of hearing loss. Cotton swabs are best used on the outer ear but should never be inserted into the ear canal.
If the ear does become infected, it is best to tend to the infection before symptoms like pus or ringing in the ear start to occur. As stated, the ear is connected to different parts of the body through sinuses and can affect them if the infection gets worse.
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