I chose to look at ear infections and how the lymphatic system is impacted when one has an ear infection. I chose to research this topic further because I often get ear infections and have noticed how my lymph nodes feel more prominent when I have one but don’t understand why. The first thing that I researched more was how ear infections work and what part of our body is affected, then I looked into the lymphatic system more to understand the relationship between the lymph nodes and infections like ear infections.

There are two main causes of ear infections. The first main cause of ear infections is bacteria. The two main common bacterias that cause ear infections are Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae. This bacteria causes ear infections when it enters the middle ear, the eardrum, incus, malleus, and stapes, and prevents drainage from the inner ear and cochlea to the ear canal. This causes a buildup of pressure in the inner and middle ear which is what causes the pain that is felt. Viral infections and congestion of the nasal cavity can also result in ear infections. The congestion in and around the eustachian tube prevents drainage from the inner ear into the canal. This leads to pressure and pain within the ear canal. 

There are many lymph nodes around the ear. Lymph nodes function as a filtration system for the body. Lymphocytes are located in the lymph nodes which are white blood cells that fight bacteria, viruses, and foreign pathogens in the body. Your lymph nodes swell when you have an ear infection, or when you are sick, because more lymphocytes come to fight off the infection. The reason why the lymph nodes around your neck and jaw swell when you have an ear infection is because the lymph nodes that swell the most are the ones closest to the infection. You may also notice that your lymph nodes are hard and tender, this is due to the inflammation caused by the increased number of blood cells in the lymph nodes. 

While I couldn’t show all of this in my art, I wanted to use the cake in order to show the lymphatic system around the ear. The location of the lymph nodes are shown in green, these are the lymph nodes that are most likely to swell and be tender when an ear infection is present. 

One Comment

  1. Rachel Charles has researched the impact of ear infections on the lymphatic system. Charles researched how ear infections work and the body parts that are affected. The two main bacteria that cause ear infections are streptococcus pneumoniae and haemophilus influenzae. There are many lymph nodes around the ear. The lymph nodes around and near the ear swell when an infection occurs because more lymphocytes are needed to fight infection. Charles uses a cake shaped as a human head with green frosting to locate the lymph nodes that swell during an ear infection.

    Courtney Merchant

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