Mastoiditis is a potentially serious infection of the mastoid bone, which is part of the temporal bone of the skull, located behind the ear. Children are more likely to develop mastoiditis than adults. Although it can be very uncomfortable, mastoiditis is highly treatable. Most people with the condition make a full recovery quickly, as long as treatment occurs promptly.
Mastoiditis typically causes the area behind the ear to become red, swollen and inflamed. This is often painful, and affected individuals may also experience an abnormal discharge from the affected ear. The swelling may become severe enough to make the ear stick out at an angle. Some people with mastoiditis develop hearing loss. They may also feel very tired, with a high-grade fever and a headache.
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