The article that started this whole crazy thing…
Otitis media is inflammation of the middle ear,
or middle ear infection.
The word otitis is Latin and it means “inflammation of the ear”,
and media means middle.
Otitis media occurs in the area between
the ear drum and the inner ear,
including a duct known as the Eustachian tube.
It is one of the two categories of ear inflammation
that can underly what is commonly called an earache,
the other being otitis externa.
Otitis media is very common in childhood,
with the average toddler having two to three episodes a year,
almost always accompanied by a viral upper respiratory infection (URI)
The rhinoviruses that cause the common cold
infect the Eustachian tube that goes from the back of the nose
to the middle ear, causing swelling
and compromise of pressure equalization,
which is the normal function of the tube.
In general, the more severe and prolonged
the compromise of Eustachian tube function,
the more severe the consequences are
to the middle ear and its delicate structures.
If a person is born with poor Eustachian tube function,
this greatly increases the likelihood of more frequent
and severe episodes of otitis media.
Otitis media is much more common in this group of people,
who often have a family history of middle ear disease.
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