Ear infections are a very common ailment of childhood, though this condition can occur in adults at times as well. Studies have shown that 1 in 4 children of the age of 3 have an ear infection at any given time. The good news is that the problem is rarely severe in nature and tends to be self-resolving, meaning that it clears itself up within a couple of days. It has also been shown that once most children reach the ages of 4 to 5, they usually stop getting these infections somehow. This means that adults rarely develop these types of ear infections.
A person cannot directly transmit an ear infection to another person. This means that ear infections are not contagious. However, the pathogen that causes colds is contagious and this is often one of the main causes of ear infections. This means that a cold, which can be passed along from one infected person to another, can sometimes then developed later on into an ear infection. Put more simply, ear infections are not contagious in of themselves, however they may be a secondary infection of a contagious infection like a cold.
Viral infections like colds are known to be one of the common causes of ear infections. The narrow passages which are the medium of connection between the nose and middle ear are known as the Eustachian tubes. Developing a cold may lead to a blockage in these passages. Consequently, pain and ear infections might be caused by this blockage. Small children and infants have shorter, narrower and angled Eustachian tubes, which make them more susceptible to developing these types of infections. The infection can begin because this anatomy makes it easy for bacteria to migrate from the throat and nose on up to the middle ear. However, as people age the tube lengthens and becomes more vertical. This helps to reduce the risk of infection, as it become more difficult for pathogens to travel.
Ear infection causes can also be related to the adenoids malfunctioning. These are the tissues that contain cells that are suppose to help in fighting off infections. It does happen though those in certain cases they themselves become infected and can become enlarged. This results in a blockage of the Eustachian tubes which leads to an infection. Obviously, children are more susceptible to this kind of disease as they do not have a fully developed immune system yet.