Bony labyrinth, a group of chambers filled with liquid that maintain the balance, can be infected in a variety of ways – most commonly by spreading the virus from the nose or throat (through the Eustachian tube) into the middle ear, and then into the inner ear. This infection, labyrinthitis, causes the inflammation of the labyrinth and the complete discontinuation of its function.
The main symptom is a strong dizziness. The eyes move slowly to the side, then suddenly return to the original position. Every and any head movement makes the dizziness even worse. Severe nausea and vomiting may occur in some cases.
Labyrinthitis is not common. Annually only one out of 1000 people asks for medical help.
What to do?
If you have a strong dizziness, contact your doctor as soon as possible. If you can not move, ask a doctor to come to your house. The doctor will look at your ears with an otoscope and check if you have had a history of respiratory tract infection recently to determine if the labyrinthitis is causing dizziness.
You will have to lie still in bed, for week or more, and take sedative drugs. Your doctor may prescribe antiemetics (anti-vomiting agents). Symptoms can be scary, but your doctor will calm you down by assuring you they will soon disappear. In most cases, labyrinthitis lasts for three weeks or less.