Can Allergies Cause Ear Infections? Here’s What You Should Know
As we approach springtime, allergies are top-of-mind for many of us who enjoy spring flowers but not the pesky pollen that comes with them, especially when it leads to symptoms that don’t seem to let up.
If allergies weren’t enough to bear, wondering whether allergies can cause ear infections is another feat.
While ear infections are most common in children, they can affect anyone with excess fluid buildup in their ears. Sometimes, due to allergy symptoms like running nose or post-nasal drip, the fluid in our ears seems to become trapped, but can allergies cause ear infections?
Let’s discuss the tie between ear infections and allergies in more detail below.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies are your immune system’s overreaction when exposed to an allergen. While most prevalent in the spring and fall, allergies can affect anyone at any time.
Seasonal allergies are often caused by allergens in the air, such as pollen or ragweed.
Year-round allergies can be triggered by other factors, including specific food or beverages, pet dander, latex, drugs, or mold exposure.
It is important to note that many people experience both types of allergies, making it hard to differentiate what is causing your allergy symptoms.
If you are experiencing allergies regularly, we recommend undergoing a thorough allergy test to determine the root cause of your symptoms.
Allergy symptoms are highly dependent on the cause of the allergic reaction.
Seasonal allergies, or those caused by pet dander or mold, can cause
- itchy, watery eyes
- scratchy throat
- runny nose
Food allergies can cause digestive upset, hives, or swollen airways. In some instances, food allergies can be life-threatening.
Allergies to drugs or latex can lead to hives, skin irritation, or fever. Although rare, those severely allergic to latex may experience life-threatening shock.
What’s an Ear Infection?
An ear infection is defined as an infection of the middle ear, an air-filled area behind the eardrum containing the ear bones.
Most common in children, ear infections can affect anyone at any age.
Ear infection symptoms can range from mild to severe and often include the following:
- drainage of fluid from the ear
- difficulty hearing
- loss of balance
- fever (especially in children)
- loss of appetite
Can Allergies Cause Ear Infections?
The short answer is yes, especially seasonal allergies that cause nasal congestion or upper respiratory symptoms.
While not all ear infections are caused by allergies, many can be brought on by allergy symptoms that inflame the inner ear canals.
When you experience moderate to severe allergy symptoms, such as post-nasal drip, runny nose, or sneezing, your nasal passages, and sinuses become inflamed.
This inflammation causes the Eustachian tubes in the ears to become filled with fluid and blocked, causing excess fluid buildup in the middle ear, which leads to an ear infection.
Compassionate Ear Infection Care on the Emerald Coast
If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with an ear infection or are just dealing with unrelenting ear pain, we are here to help.
Our urgent care facility is open seven days a week with no appointments necessary. So, walk-in today to get tested for an ear infection. We provide prompt diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan to help you feel better sooner.