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Mastoiditis in children, cases on the rise: causes, symptoms and contagion

Cases of mastoiditis among children are increasing.
The news was reported by the Santobono hospital in Naples, where numerous (and increasing) visits to the emergency room for mastoiditis have been recorded.
The infection is caused by streptococcus, a fairly common bacterium that spreads among children.
The head of the emergency room at the Santobono-Pausilipon hospital, Vincenzo Tipo, explained that it is a question of lack of training of the children's immune system and the indiscriminate use of antibiotics.
But what is mastoiditis? The name of the infection comes from the bone involved in the inflammation: the mastoid bone.
Here's what the causes are and how to recognize the symptoms.
read also Long cold, boom in cases in Italy: what it is and why it occurs What is mastoiditis? “Mastoiditis”, as stated in the MSD manual, means a bacterial infection of the mastoid pneumatic cells which generally follows acute otitis media.
The bone involved is the mastoid, a portion of the temporal bone positioned behind the ear.
Various infections can affect it, which consequently lead to acute or chronic otitis media.
The inflammation causes occlusion of the tympanic cavity and the accumulation of pus in the mastoid.
In the most serious and acute cases, there is the possibility of destruction of the bony septa and the spread of the infection to nearby anatomical structures (with related complications).
read also Lice, alarm in schools: what to check and how to prevent What are the causes of mastoiditis? Mastoiditis is caused by germs (usually bacteria) that cause acute otitis media.
In the recent increase in emergency room admissions, streptococcus appears to be the culprit.
According to the head of the emergency room at the pediatric hospital of Naples, Vincenzo Tipo, the increase in mastoiditis is due to the lack of protection in children.
“For two years, especially children, have not trained their immune system against infections and this is harmful,” he explained.
Not only that, in fact it is the indiscriminate use of antibiotics that has selected increasingly resistant germs.
read also Tridemia alert in children, what it is and advice from pediatricians What are the symptoms? The symptoms of mastoiditis are often similar to those of meningitis.
Recognition of the infection is therefore complex and treatment may start late.
The main symptoms are (as the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome reminds us): the appearance of swelling which typically presents with red, shiny and painful skin behind the auricle.
The swelling is caused by the infection extending outside the mastoid bone into the subcutaneous area; anteriorization of the auricle: in other words, the child develops the typical protruding ear due to the swelling that has appeared behind the ear; disappearance of the normal retroauricular sulcus, again due to the swelling that has developed behind the auricle.
These symptoms are also associated with those of acute otitis media: intense ear pain; fever; sometimes leakage of mucous or frankly purulent secretion (otorrhea) from the external auditory canal.
All symptoms that need to be treated quickly.
In fact, children are often hospitalized in emergency to undergo antibiotic therapy.
If this does not work, especially in the case of antibiotic resistance (a serious health problem for today, but above all for tomorrow), surgery is performed, with the drainage of the pus.
How does the infection spread? The patients who mostly experience the onset of mastoiditis are children, especially newborns between 6 and 13 months.
Infection occurs by contact.
In fact, it is a bacterium that is transmitted in the event of incorrect ventilation of environments or the common use of personal items today.

Author: Hermes A.I.

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