A Spike In Ear Infections This Summer After Covid
by Abigail Kumral, The Conversation
Ear pain is one of the most common reasons that young children go to the doctor, and acute otitis mediawhich means “middle ear infection”is the most frequent cause for the use of antibiotics in children under 5 years of age. Twenty-five percent of children will have an ear infection by their first birthday, and 60% by age 5.
As a pediatrician, I see children in my clinic daily for ear infections. Because these are associated with viral upper respiratory infections, we typically see most ear infections in the fall and winter, when influenza and cold viruses are prevalent. However, with near-universal mask-wearing due to COVID-19 last winter and many children out of school, the number of viral upper respiratory infections dropped drastically. As a result, we saw very few ear infections in our clinic.
This summer, with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, we have seen a return of many respiratory viruses, and with them, middle ear infections.
How an ear gets infected
The middle ear space, which is the space behind the ear drum, is connected to the back of the throat via the eustachian tube. When people, especially children, get congested, they tend to collect fluid in this space.
The three most common bacteria that cause middle ear infections are Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Moraxella catarrhalis.
Guidelines for diagnosing and treating
How to prevent ear infections
How Do You Know If You Have A Viral Ear Infection
Over time, fluid accumulates behind the eardrum causing it to bulge. Anaches and fullness in your ears are linked because they have drainable fluid from the affected ear. It is possible for otitis media to produce a fever when it gets into your system. There are also instances where you may have difficulty hearing.
What Is A Balance Disorder
A balance disorder is a condition that makes you feel unsteady or dizzy. If you are standing, sitting, or lying down, you might feel as if you are moving, spinning, or floating. If you are walking, you might suddenly feel as if you are tipping over.
Everyone has a dizzy spell now and then, but the term dizziness can mean different things to different people. For one person, dizziness might mean a fleeting feeling of faintness, while for another it could be an intense sensation of spinning that lasts a long time.
About 15 percent of American adults had a balance or dizziness problem in 2008. Balance disorders can be caused by certain health conditions, medications, or a problem in the inner ear or the brain. A balance disorder can profoundly affect daily activities and cause psychological and emotional hardship.
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When Should You Call A Doctor
The CDC urges those who have or may have COVID-19 to watch for emergency warning signs and seek medical care immediately if they experience symptoms including:
- Trouble breathing
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
“This list is not all possible symptoms,” the CDC states. “Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.”
You can also notify the operator that you believe you or someone you are caring for has COVID.
How Does My Body Keep Its Balance
Your sense of balance relies on a series of signals to your brain from several organs and structures in your body, specifically your eyes, ears, and the muscles and touch sensors in your legs. The part of the ear that assists in balance is known as the vestibular system, or the labyrinth, a maze-like structure in your inner ear made of bone and soft tissue.
Structures of the balance system inside the inner ear
Within the labyrinth are structures known as semicircular canals. The semicircular canals contain three fluid-filled ducts, which form loops arranged roughly at right angles to one another. They tell your brain when your head rotates. Inside each canal is a gelatin-like structure called the cupula , stretched like a thick sail that blocks off one end of each canal. The cupula sits on a cluster of sensory hair cells. Each hair cell has tiny, thin extensions called stereocilia that protrude into the cupula.
When you turn your head, fluid inside the semicircular canals moves, causing the cupulae to flex or billow like sails in the wind, which in turn bends the stereocilia. This bending creates a nerve signal that is sent to your brain to tell it which way your head has turned.
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Latest Coronavirus News As Of 12pm On 4 March
Immune-suppressing treatment reduces deaths even in people already taking existing covid-19 medicines
Another treatment has been shown to help people hospitalised with severe covid-19: an arthritis medicine called baricitinib, which works by dampening the immune response. In the later stages of covid-19, overactivity of the immune system contributes to damage to the lungs and the blood clotting system, which causes tiny blood clots to form throughout the body.
Baricitinib was already being used in some countries, but a large UK trial has now shown that adding it to the other treatments used against covid-19 further reduces the death rate by 13 per cent. Most people in the study were already being given the steroid treatment dexamethasone, the first medicine shown to reduce deaths in covid-19, which also suppresses the inflammatory immune reaction. When this result is combined with other trials, it suggests baricitinib could reduce deaths by one fifth.
Baricitinib works by blocking the actions of an immune system compound called interleukin-6 , which is raised in severe covid-19. It comes in tablet form, making it easier to give than another IL-6-blocking medicine called tocilizumab, given through a drip. Nearly a third of people in the trial also received tocilizumab and they still had the additional reduction in deaths from baricitinib.
Other coronavirus news
Shortness Of Breath Or Difficulty Breathing
924 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom
According to John Hopkins Medicine, shortness of breath is when you feel like you can’t get enough air or your chest is tight. Most people feel this way after exercising or if they’re experiencing a panic attack. However, patients with COVID-19 may feel shortness of breath without even moving since it’s a common symptom of the virus. In the survey, 924 COVID-19 patients claimed that shortness of breath or difficulty breathing was a long-lasting coronavirus symptom.
1,048 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom
Body aches are a common symptom of many illnesses, including coronavirus. In this survey, 1,048 participants reported feeling these body aches after their COVID-19 diagnosis. According to Dr. Tania Elliott, MD FAAAAI, FACAAI, “Your body aches when you have the flu because your immune system is revving up to fight infection.” It’s not necessarily the virus that causes these aches but your body’s own reaction to the virus invasion.
1,567 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom
Fatigue was the most common lingering symptom of coronavirus. According to a study conducted by the WHO, the average recovery time for mild coronavirus cases is around two weeks but three to six weeks for severe or critical cases. Lingering fatigue may be a sign that your body is still fighting the virus or is recovering from the fight.
Special thanks to Emilia Paluszek
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Senses Affected By Covid
The most frequent symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, loss of smell and taste. There are also muscle pains, tiredness, headaches, breathing difficulties and sore throats, up to, in some cases, pneumonia. Over time, the range of possible signs of the disease has expanded to other manifestations, including gastrointestinal problems, skin rashes and conjunctivitis.
The action of the Coronavirus on taste and smell is now widely known, while its effects on hearing are little discussed and studied. For some time, however, the number of people affected by earache in connection with a diagnosis of COVID-19 has been increasing.
Effect On Other Diseases And The Pharmacy Trade
There was a report on 3 March 2021, that social distancing and common wearing of surgical masks and similar as a common precaution against COVID-19 caused a drop in the spread rate of the common cold and flu. So much so, that in Britain the sale of cough liquids and throat lozenges and from 30 November 2020 to 21 February 2021, was about a half of the sale a year earlier. Public Health England reported no cases of flu in the year 2021 to date, and that there was an 89% rise in sales of Vitamin D to try to boost immunity.
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Why Do I Have This Noise In My Ears
Although we hear tinnitus in our ears, its source is really in the networks of brain cells that make sense of the sounds our ears hear. A way to think about tinnitus is that it often begins in the ear, but it continues in the brain.
Scientists still havent agreed upon what happens in the brain to create the illusion of sound when there is none. Some think that tinnitus is similar to chronic pain syndrome, in which the pain persists even after a wound or broken bone has healed.
Tinnitus could be the result of the brains neural circuits trying to adapt to the loss of sensory hair cells by turning up the sensitivity to sound. This would explain why some people with tinnitus are oversensitive to loud noise.
Tinnitus also could be the result of neural circuits thrown out of balance when damage in the inner ear changes signaling activity in the auditory cortex, the part of the brain that processes sound. Or it could be the result of abnormal interactions between neural circuits. The neural circuits involved in hearing arent solely dedicated to processing sound. They also communicate with other parts of the brain, such as the limbic region, which regulates mood and emotion.
Tinnitus Or Humming In Ears
223 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom
Tinnitus is a ringing or noise in the ear and 233 survey respondents claim they now experience this ringing or humming in the ears after recovering from COVID-19. According to the American Tinnitus Association, the onset of tinnitus may occur due to stress and anxiety, after there’s been damage to the inner ear, or when other conditions or diseases are developed.
243 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom
According to a study published in the Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection, “Viral infections have detrimental impacts on neurological functions, and even cause severe neurological damage.” 243 survey participants reported feeling nerve sensations after COVID-19, which may be due to neurological damage caused by the virus.
246 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom
When you contract an illness or a virus like coronavirus, your body’s working overtime to fight it. According to the Mayo Clinic, your body needs more fluids when you’re sick and if it doesn’t get the fluids, you’re likely to suffer from constant thirst. It’s your body’s way of telling you it’s not getting enough fluids to continue fighting and recovering from the virus.
247 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom
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Strategies To Improve Symptoms Of Long Covid
One of the key strategies to preventing infection and treating long-haul symptoms is to protect and support your gut microbiome. According to an article in The BMJ published August 11, 2020, many long COVID patients recover spontaneously with holistic support, rest, symptomatic treatment and gradual increase in activity. To support recovery, the article suggests:26
patients should be managed pragmatically and symptomatically with an emphasis on holistic support while avoiding over-investigation. Fever, for example, may be treated symptomatically with paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Monitoring functional status in post-acute COVID-19 patients is not yet an exact science. A post-COVID-19 functional status scale has been developed pragmatically but not formally validated
Referral to a specialist rehabilitation service does not seem to be needed for most patients, who can expect a gradual, if sometimes protracted, improvement in energy levels and breathlessness, aided by careful pacing, prioritization, and modest goal setting.
In our experience, most but not all patients who were not admitted to hospital recover well with four to six weeks of light aerobic exercise , gradually increasing in intensity as tolerated. Those returning to employment may need support to negotiate a phased return.
Audiovestibular Symptoms In Covid
Audiovestibular symptoms were the presenting symptoms of COVID-19 in three patients for one of them , hearing loss and tinnitus were the only symptoms of COVID-19. Seven patients developed audiovestibular symptoms after manifesting other symptoms of COVID-19. Audiometric data show that all patients experienced SNHL ranging from mild to profound . The majority had profound or severe hearing loss, except patient 7, who had moderate hearing loss and patient 9, who had mild high-frequency hearing loss during COVID-19 infection. Table summarizes the otoacoustic emission test results for patients 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 who completed this testing. Otoacoustic emission testing is used to confirm the presence of functional outer hair cells or the loss of OHCs because the testing is based on recording the sound made by OHC contraction with frequency-specific stimulation. While the three-times less numerous inner hair cells transmit virtually all acoustic information to the brain as they synapse with 9095% of type I auditory nerve fibers, IHC function cannot yet be clinically measured.
Fig. 1: Clinical data.
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How Do You Treat A Bacterial Ear Infection
Ial Or Complete Loss Of Sense Of Taste
375 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom
Loss of taste, called ageusia, and loss of smell, called anosmia, are common symptoms of the virus and the duration of these symptoms varies by patient. A study published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science analyzed Korean COVID-19 sufferers and the duration of this specific symptom. The study found that, “Most patients with anosmia or ageusia recovered within 3 weeks.”
381 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom
As COVID-19 takes its course, patients may report symptoms that change frequently. For example, a patient may begin experiencing a headache and fever, then move onto shortness of breath and muscle aches. According to the CDC, “U.S. COVID-19 patients report a wide range of symptoms across a spectrum of illness severity.”
385 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom
“Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach ,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Since the virus is known to cause gastrointestinal problems, some patients may take longer to recover from these inconsistencies than others. Avoiding alcohol, spicy foods, and large meals may help curb these long-lasting symptoms.
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Can Tinnitus Also Be A Symptom Of Covid
Tinnitus can be soft, loud, and high or low pitched, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders . The sounds signal that something is wrong in the auditory system, and can be caused by a range of things. Those include:
- Earwax blocking the ear canal
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Hormonal changes in women
- Thyroid abnormalities
Tinnitus may be an infrequent symptom of COVID-19. That means it doesnt happen a lot, but it can happen. A recent study published in the International Journal of Audiology analyzed 28 case reports and 28 cross-sectional studies, revealing that between 7% to 15% of adults who are diagnosed with COVID-19 have some kind of hearing issue. The most common symptom, per the findings, is tinnitus, followed by hearing difficulties and vertigo. The researchers do note, however, that this could be an over-estimate given that the data doesnt always clearly state if people struggled with hearing issues before their diagnosis.
Regardless of how common tinnitus is from COVID-19, experts say there does seem to be a link. We do know that the new coronavirus doesnt just affect the lungsit can affect the central nervous system, brain, and other organs, Dr. Russo says. In terms of ear symptoms, COVID-19 could potentially affect nerves in the vestibular system, which includes the inner ear and brain.
Hardly Seeing Covid Cases Says Doc As Infections Start To Decline
Mumbai While Maharashtra recorded 525 fresh infections on Thursday, Mumbais cases were less than 100, as it stood at 78. The city also continued to report zero deaths for the eighth consecutive day.
With 19,737 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the Test Positivity Rate in Mumbai stayed at 0.39 percent on Friday and active cases at 600, with a 1.8 per cent rate of hospitalisation. The states positivity rate stood at 0.72 per cent. The citys recovery rate stood at 98 per cent.
Dr Satyendra Nath Mehra, medical director at Masina Hospital, Byculla, said that hospitals are rarely seeing Covid cases. We have hardly seen Covid patients in the past one month, said Dr Mehra.
The state also reported 206 Omicron cases on Friday, all from Pune city. Till now, 5,211 Omicron cases have been reported.
Currently, the active cases in the state is below 5,000 at 4,476, with the highest at Pune with 1,562 infections, followed by Mumbai and Ahmednagar with 600 and 469 patients respectively.
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