While ear infections are most common in children, they can also occur in repeatedly in adulthood. At that point, the option of ear tubes or “growing out of it” isn’t as feasible. Where can those with chronic ear infections turn? Start by getting to the cause of the infection.
Ear infections typically don’t just appear from nowhere. There’s an underlying illness – like cold, flu, or allergy – that cause the nasal passages and ear tubes to swell. This swelling creates not only pain, but otherwise normal fluids in the ear become trapped, infected and create a variety of symptoms.
Symptoms in adults can include:
- Pain in the ear
- Tenderness to the touch
- Changes in hearing
Symptoms in children can include:
- Ear pain
- Trouble sleeping
For those struggling to stop the cycle of repeated ear infections, it may be time to consider allergy.
How can allergy cause ear infections?
When the body considers an allergen to be harmful, its natural response is inflammation. That’s why long seasons of allergen exposure can cause different infections – like sinus infections, respiratory infections, and of course, ear infections. Even if you don’t show the typical itchy, sneezy, runny nose allergy symptoms, the allergic reaction can manifest as added inflammation.
Treating the cause of allergy
To determine if your chronic ear infections are related to allergy, an allergy test should be completed first to determine which allergens are problematic. A variety of seasonal and year-round allergens could be the cause: trees, grass, ragweed, dust mites, and pet dander, for example.
After determining what’s causing your symptoms, there are a few options for managing your allergies.
Antihistamines and other control measures can be used to help your body not react to allergens temporarily. Each season, these measures will be needed to control allergies, the associated inflammation and ultimately, pre-empt ear infections.
Your provider may also recommend allergy immunotherapy, which treats the cause of underlying allergies. Over time, immunotherapy teaches your body not to react and create inflammation when exposed to your problem allergens. Sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops, are one option that more patients are finding to be a convenient, safe and effective way to treat the cause, typically within three to five years. By getting to the root cause, overall inflammation, as well as inflammation flare-ups after allergy exposure, are reduced – and ear infections tend to subside.
Allergy and ear infections in children
Chronic ear infections are a common indicator of allergy in children. By identifying and intervening with allergy early, the allergic march can be halted. This means that the underlying allergy is less likely to progress from ear infections to allergic rhinitis, food allergies, eczema, and other conditions including asthma as the child grows. Sublingual immunotherapy through Allergychoices follows the La Crosse Method™ Protocol, which is shown to be safe for children as young as infants and toddlers.
Ear infections don’t have to be something you suffer through again and again.
By Taylor Pasell, Allergychoices