Phlegm in the ears is often a common condition in children, but it can also occur in adults.
The formation of thick mucus called phlegm in the ear passages is medically called effusive otitis media. This term therefore indicates the presence of an inflammation in the middle part of the ear with the presence of mucus in the tympanic cavity.
The middle ear is formed by the eardrum and small bones that transmit sound , it is also in communication with the pharynx.
Effusive otitis media is typical in infants under 10 years of age and has been estimated to affect 80% of children at least once in their lifetime. It is not a dangerous pathology given that in 65% of cases it has a spontaneous resolution of healing without the intervention of drugs.
Symptoms of effusive otitis media
The manifestation of phlegm in the ears does not give particular symptoms of pain or the presence of fever. However, it can influence hearing sensitivity by lowering the perception of sounds, this phenomenon is indicated with the term hearing loss, that is, hearing impairment.
Other symptoms of this type of otitis are irritability, especially in children , also linked to short-term ear discomfort if the pathology is of inflammatory origin. However, the symptoms are so mild that it is difficult to detect the onset of catarrhal otitis in children.
In adults this type of otitis can at most lead to walking problems due to an altered perception of balance and even dizziness and nausea may arise.
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The causes of phlegm in the ears
The causes for phlegm in the ears is often linked to a previous inflammation or infection of the upper airways or to the presence of an acute otitis media pathology that is healing through an effusive otitis media.
In fact, usually the causes of the formation of phlegm in the ears can be of traumatic or infectious origin caused by viruses and bacteria that come up from the airways. Phlegm in the ears often originates after the presence of a flu, a cold or a sinusitis precisely because these ailments lead to the production of mucus that can stop in the ear and form phlegm.
The phlegm then becomes an excellent ground for the proliferation of viruses and bacteria with unleashing consequences of inflammation.
Certain forms of allergies such as allergic rhinitis are also triggers of phlegm in the ears. It is evident that having a low or compromised immune system in its defensive functions is another risk factor for the appearance of phlegm in the ears.
The presence of smoke or other volatile elements of chemical synthesis origin increase the risk of phlegm formation both in the airways and in the ear.
Obviously, any malformations of the respiratory tract, mouth and ear, in particular the Eustachian tube, increase the risk of incidence for this pathology.
Natural anti-phlegm remedies
The presence of stagnant phlegm in the ear must be helped to get out to resolve this pathology. So the natural remedies capable of thinning the phlegm and expectorating it to the outside will be the most suitable together with the remedies with decongestant and anti-inflammatory capacities.
To dissolve the phlegm it is necessary to bring heat close to the phlegm in order to make it more fluid and allow its mobility towards the outside. The home remedies of the past used olive or almond oil heated slightly and dropped into the ear with a cotton swab to keep in contact for at least 10 minutes.
This allowed the phlegm to soften, facilitating its escape . Chamomile oil is also excellent, which in addition to thinning the phlegm also has anti-inflammatory properties.
It is also possible to make a clay poultice at a warm-warm temperature to be placed in contact on the ear. In fact, clay has antiseptic and bactericidal properties as well as exerting an expectoration action of fluids towards the outside.
The fumigations with essential oils are excellent for inhaling water vapor mixed with essences such as eucalyptus , pine , thyme and mint . These plants have fluidifying , antiseptic and expectorant properties and thanks to the aerial inhalation through the nose they are able to dissolve the phlegm in the body and therefore also in the ears.
We can make fumigations both with a mechanical aerosol and in a more homemade way with a pot of hot water and a cloth on the head.
Keeping the nasal sinuses free and clean is essential to resolve the phlegm in the ears because the pathways are communicating and both incoming and outgoing nose and ears must be free at this time to resolve this pathology.
There are also various ways to do ear washes and in our case the sticks similar to candles that are lit to dissolve the phlegm are excellent. They are sold in specialized stores such as herbalists and it will be sufficient to read the instructions on the label carefully.
Finally, some advice on the right diet and how to sleep in case of phlegm in the ears:
> It will be useful to drink herbal teas and hot drinks as well as broths and vegetable soups because the heat facilitates the dissolution of phlegm.
> It will also be important to increase all foods that support and activate the immune system such as foods rich in vitamin C (all citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, tomatoes, peppers, kale, spinach and broccoli) and antioxidants .
> It will be good to sleep a little higher with the presence of 2 pillows to help the phlegm escape.