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    Ear Infections - Cause

    Middle ear infections are caused by bacteria and viruses.

    Swelling from an upper respiratory infection or allergy can block the eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ears to the throat. So air can't reach the middle ear. This creates a vacuum and suction, which pulls fluid and germs from the nose and throat into the middle ear. The swollen tube prevents this fluid from draining. The fluid is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria or viruses to grow into an ear infection.

    Recommended Related to Ear Infection

    Understanding Swimmer's Ear -- the Basics

    Known to medical professionals as otitis externa, swimmer's ear is an inflammation of the ear canal. Its common name comes from the fact that it often occurs in children and young adults who swim frequently. However, any cause of dampness in the canal can lead to irritation and chafing, very similar to diaper rash in babies. An inflammation of the skin can sometimes lead to an infection that can be very painful. Despite its name, you don't have to be a swimmer to get swimmer's ear. It can...

    Read the Understanding Swimmer's Ear -- the Basics article > >

    Inflammation and fluid buildup can occur without infection and cause a feeling of stuffiness in the ears. This is known as otitis media with effusion.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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