Bullous myringitis is a form of ear infection that can result in severe pain. Unlike other forms of ear infection, bullous myringitis causes the formation of blisters on the eardrum. However, there is no accumulation of fluid behind the eardrum. Symptoms of this condition generally include hearing loss in the infected ear and a sensation of fullness in the ear. Patients may also present with a fever and with fluid draining from the ear. The pain experienced from this condition typically has a sudden onset and may last for up to forty-eight hours. To diagnose this form of ear infection, doctors will examine the ear with an otoscope. To differentiate between bullous myringitis and other kinds of ear infections, doctors may blow a puff of air into the ear to obtain additional information. Treatment for this condition generally consists of pain relievers and antibiotics, some of which can be given in the form of ear drops.
The major causes and risk factors for bullous myringitis are outlined below.
The common cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract and is caused by a virus. Symptoms include runny nose, cough, headache, minor body aches, and a low fever. While children get more frequent colds than adults, it is typical for healthy adults to have as many as three colds each year. The common cold is considered a risk factor for ear infections because it can irritate the Eustachian tubes, and it may prevent these tubes from draining fluid as they normally would. This would then allow virus-containing fluid from the cold to enter the ear, potentially leading to an infection. Bullous myringitis is caused by the same viruses and bacteria that cause other types of ear infections. To reduce the risk of catching a cold, patients are typically advised to wash their hands regularly and use hand sanitizer. It can also be helpful to avoid touching surfaces and the eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
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