What is Mastoiditis?
Mastoiditis is an ear infection disease that is rare. It is a disease that affects the mastoid bone or the outside of the mastoid bone. The mastoid bone is a bone in the part of the skull and located right behind the inner ear. The bone consists of mastoid air cells, which are like honeycomb-like. These cells can be infected or inflamed; this is due to infection in the inner ear (Otis media). When the infection spreads to the outside of the air cells to the bone (coalescent mastoiditis) then it can cause a serious problem.
Who at Risk to contact Mastoiditis.
The following are at risk of having ear infection with a possibility to develop in mastoiditis.
§ Age- Mastoiditis can affect adults but children at the age of 6month and 24 months are at more risk of contracting ear infection. This is because children at this age are still developing in their immune system. However, it can also affect adults.
§ Child care groups- it's very easy for children to contact cold and ear infection in a group setting. When they play and interact they are more exposed to be infected.
§ Infant feeding- babies who use a bottle for drinking while lying down, they are at risk of having an ear infection, than babies who are breastfeeding.
§ Seasonal factors- during the winter season ear infection are more common. People who have seasonal allergies have a high risk of ear infection.
§ Poor quality of air circulation. Air pollution of any nature increases the risk of ear infections.
What are the Causes of Mastoiditis?
Mastoiditis is caused by bacteria. The bacterial infection affects the mastoid cells which are in the mastoid bone.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Mastoiditis?
The patients with acute and chronic mastoiditis have the following signs and symptoms: -
§ Pain in the ear most common when lying down
§ Trouble in sleeping
§ Pulling or tugging the ear
§ Crying more than normal
§ Trouble in hearing
§ Loss of balance
§ Drainage of fluid coming out of the ear
§ Loss of appetite.
§ Pain behind the area of the ear (otalgia)
§ Swelling behind the area of the ear
§ Ear discharge (otorrhea)
§ Tenderness and redness behind the ear
§ A the hearing loss to the affected ear
§ Spinning sensation (vertigo) or dizziness (uncommon)
§ Swelling behind the eyes
§ Weakened facial muscles (uncommon)
What complications Can Does Mastoiditis bring?
Mastoiditis if not treated well, it can spread and cause other complication such as:
§ Impaired hearing- Mastoiditis in children may lead to hearing loss. This happens because the eardrum can be permanently damaged by the fluid in the middle ear.
§ Delay in the development of speech- hearing is connected with the speech. Therefore whenever a hearing is impaired then it will affect the speech development in the child.
§ Tearing or damage to the eardrum-. although most eardrum which tears can be repaired and heal within a short period. In most cases, surgery to repair is required.
§ Meningitis- the spread of the infection may affect tissues in the skull, this includes the brain thus causing meningitis.
§ Permanent hearing loss
§ Facial paralysis
§ Bone infection
§ Inflammation in the inner ear nerves
§ Blood clots- this includes sinus thrombosis; this is a blood clot in the sinuses which drain the blood from the brain.
§ Brain abscess
How to prevent Mastoiditis to the Children
Mastoiditis can be prevented. The best and most effective way to prevent mastoiditis is to prevent any infection from the ear (Otis media). The other way is to treat any infection to the ear with antibiotic therapy. Other ways to prevent ear infection involve: -Washing hands often to avoid the spread of colds and flu viruses
§ Breastfeeding the baby. It is recommended that if possible to breastfeed the baby for six months. Breast milk has antibodies that can protect the baby from ear infections.
§ For those who bottle-feed the babies, they should hold the baby on the upright position. They should also avoid propping the bottle in the mouth of the baby especially when the baby is lying down. Avoid putting the bottle in the crib where the child sleep.
§ Keeping children away from smoke. Research has that many children around smokers are at high risk of getting an ear infection.
§ Making sure that children get flu-vaccine frequently as required by the health regulations. Most vaccinated children are free from the risk of getting ear infections.
§ Limiting children from the exposure of other children with cold and flu.
How to Tests and Diagnosis Mastoiditis.
The doctor examines the ear canal using an otoscope to look into the ear canal and the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and if possible, structures inside the middle ear. Other diagnostic tests may include:
§ CT scan on the temporal bone
§ MRI scan of the head and the ear
§ X-ray of the skull
§ Blood test
§ Culture of the fluids taken from the ear
§ Hearing test
§ Spinal tap or Lumbar puncture
How to treat Mastoiditis
Mastoiditis can be treated. However, it is not possible to be treated at home. It requires a professional medical diagnosis, laboratory test, or imaging. It will need medical treatment. Usually, the use of antibiotics can clear or remove the infection. However, surgery may be needed in severe cases.
Mastoiditis can be prevented from worsening or becoming chronic when children and adults observe the following measures.
§ Wearing earplugs – especially when swimming or showering to avoid water getting into the affected ear and worsen the infection.
§ Taking antibiotics, pain relievers, and medicine which will reduce fever ( Need a recommendation from the doctor)
§ Staying hydrated
§ Resting- having enough rest
§ Avoiding air traveling if necessary – flying may increase the ear pain due to noise.
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