Ear Infections: Types and Causes

Ear infections are caused by viruses and/or bacteria. They occur when the middle ear becomes build up with fluid and can result from upper respiratory infections, such as sinus infections, excess mucus, air pressure changes, smoking, or allergies.

Ear Infections

Common symptoms that Vancouver physician, Ali Ghahary, will see in patients with ear infections, include: discomfort and/or a feeling of pressure inside the ear, hearing difficulty, and pus. Young infants with ear infections may be more irritable than usual.

There are various types of ear infections, with Otitis Media being the most common. This is an infection of the middle ear and typically occurs in infants and young children. OM infections can cause pain, fever, and redness of the eardrum. Most OM ear infections are viral and often go away on their own. However, if they persist or worsen, antibiotics may be required. It some cases, Otitis Media infections can be chronic. If fluid is seen in the ear for more than 6 weeks, tubes may be necessary to help the ears drain properly. For more information on ear infections in children, click here.

Otitis Externa, also known as “swimmer’s ear” or an outer ear infection, is more common during summer months. It can be the result of frequent swimming and not keeping the ears dry. Typically, it’s easily treatable with ear drops and taking precautions to keep the ears from getting wet.

Mastoiditis, a bacterial infection of the ear, affects the bone located behind the ear. It is usually the result of otitis media spreading due to not being treated. Mastoiditis can be severe and lead to meningitis, brain injury, blood poisoning or even deafness if left untreated.

Eardrums can also rupture. This can occur as a result of having a previous ear infection, by noise or injury. A rupture eardrum will typically heal within a few weeks, but can cause temporary (and in certain cases, permanent) problems with hearing.

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Dr. Ali Ghahary, Vancouver Physician, Utilizes Health & Fitness Expertise in Assisi, Italy

Dr. Ali Ghahary recently joined Josh Cumbee (photographed below) on the set of his music video shoot for “Sunny Days” in Assisi, Italy. Find out how Dr. Ghahary utilized his medical and fitness expertise by visiting http://www.alighahary.ca

Ali Ghahary with Josh Cumbee

Injury Prevention

An est. 5 million Canadians will suffer an injury each year that is usually severe enough to limit their normal activities and send them to their physician or nearest emergency room.

Ali Ghahary - Injury Prevention

Some of the most common types of injuries that Ali Ghahary sees as a practicing physician in Vancouver include sprains and strains, followed by fractures and broken bones, as well as the typical cuts, scrapes, bruises and blisters.

Those at a higher risk of developing an injury include children and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19, as well as seniors. Injuries can affect many parts of the body including the ankles, feet, legs, hands, wrists, shoulders, elbows, arms and even head – and can lead to concussion, and sometimes even death. In Canada, the majority of injuries in youth are often caused by sports or other recreational activities. For seniors, injuries often occur as a result of walking or doing household chores.

In order to prevent injury, Dr. Ali Ghahary suggests taking precautions, such as wearing helmets and other safety gear.

Concussions, for example, are often a result of physical activity and/or sports, and are most commonly seen in hockey and football players. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of developing a concussion. For a more in-depth look at concussions and how they are treated, read Dr. Ghahary’s article titled ‘Concussions: Risk and Prevention.’

concussions

Seniors are also at an increased risk of injury due to their bones being more fragile. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations as well as deaths for seniors living in British Columbia. Prevention may include a number of factors such as in-home changes, using wheelchairs and/or walkers, and ensuring that snow and ice is cleared from outdoor staircases and walkways to avoid slips, trips and falls during winter months.

Click here for a detailed slideshow on how injuries can impact the body’s muscles and ligaments. You can also find information on other injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, by clicking here.

How to Live the Happiest, Healthiest Life Possible

We all want to live the happiest, healthiest life possible. As a physician in Vancouver, Dr. Ali Ghahary encourages his patients to make healthy lifestyle choices; including healthy eating habits, regular physical activity, and smoking cessation. By not eating healthy, not staying fit, and smoking, you are not taking care of your body – and in order to be happy, we also need to be healthy.

When we think of the word “diet” we often correlate that to weight loss. However, weight loss and weight management is not the only benefit of healthy eating. While it is definitely part of it, the food you eat can also play a significant role in other aspects of your health. For example, if you eat food or drink beverages that contain lots of sugar, you are more likely to develop cavities. A trip to the dentist, in this case, is something you want to avoid (though it is important to take care of your teeth by going for regular checkups and cleanings.) Sugar contains no healthy fats, proteins, enzymes, or nutrients. All it does is destroy your body. Individuals who consume sugar are much more likely to develop heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, and are even at risk of developing certain cancers.

Similarly, regular exercise can also have great health benefits aside from weight loss. By staying fit you are at less of a risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Physical activity can also be great for those who suffer from anxiety and/or stress, and can boost one’s self esteem.

In order to live a long and healthy life, those who smoke should cease from doing so. It has been scientifically proven that smoking causes cancer. In fact, 84% of cancer-related deaths are caused by lung cancer due to smoking. Smoking can also lead to emphysema – a condition in which the lungs become damaged, resulting in difficulty breathing. Alcohol is another thing individuals should try to avoid. Excessive drinking can lead to liver damage and a variety of other health problems.

For further insight into how you can live the healthiest life possible, Dr. Ali Ghahary is able to see patients on a walk-in basis at Brentwood Medical Clinic every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and can answer any questions you might have. For his walk-in schedule, click here.

You can also follow Dr. Ghahary on Twitter at @DrAliGhahary.