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6 Common Causes of Ear Infections

By Manpreet Dhalla, 9:00 am on

While common in children, middle ear infections can also occur in adults. Children are more prone to developing ear infections due to the short path between their sinuses and Eustachian tubes. However, there are many different reasons why seniors might develop ear infections. Following are the six most common causes of ear infections that Ft. Lauderdale caregivers should be mindful of.

1. Allergies

Many adults experience allergic respiratory reactions during spring and winter. When the immune system encounters a substance that it deems a threat, chemicals are released throughout the body that cause itching, sneezing and congestion. If the symptoms are not alleviated, the fluid remains trapped in the middle ear and encourages bacterial growth. Routine rounds of anti-allergy medications minimize these symptoms and reduce the risk of ear infection. 

2. Cold and Flu

Viruses like the common cold and flu enter the body and cause a variety of upper and lower respiratory symptoms. Although in most cases the illnesses are self-limiting, some may develop secondary ear, sinus or lung infections. Healthcare providers advise that seniors receive annual flu shots to prevent any further complications. 

3. Ruptured Eardrum

In some instances, fluid and pressure buildup in the middle ear chamber may result in a ruptured eardrum. With the protective barrier breached, harmful microbes are free to enter the inner ear and cause an infection. 

4. Smoking

Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and even campfires are respiratory irritants. When chronically exposed, individuals may experience respiratory tissue swelling and fluid accumulation that leaks into the ears and becomes infected. Ft. Lauderdale, FL, live-in caregivers are advised to keep seniors away from the irritants to prevent this problem. 

5. Weakened Immune System

Elderly adults are more susceptible to many types of microbial illnesses because elderly immune systems are not as strong later in life. The inability to adequately fight common illnesses may lead to more serious symptoms that include middle ear infections. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding contact with people who are ill helps deter the problem. 

6. Suppressed Immunity

Along with the natural loss of immune system strength, older adults undergoing chemotherapy for cancer or autoimmune conditions become that much more susceptible to illnesses. Under these circumstances, seniors must take extra precautions in order to avoid contacting illnesses by getting enough rest, eating well, and practicing good hygiene.

Protect your loved one from ear and other infections with help from a reliable provider of senior care in Ft. Lauderdale. Home Care Assistance provides comprehensive live-in and hourly services that meet the unique needs of seniors in the comfort of home. Our friendly and compassionate caregivers make our clients their number one priority by promoting emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing. Call (954) 909-0370 today to speak with a knowledgeable Care Manager and customize a care plan for your senior loved one.