Acute Otitis Media (Middle Ear Infection) – Causes & Symptoms

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Middle Ear Infection is one of the most common infections found in humans. Ear infections are very painful because of inflammation and building up of fluids in the middle ear. This infection generally clears up on their own, treatment may begin with managing pain and examine the problem. Ear infection in infants and serious cases generally require antibiotic medications. Today we are going to talk about acute otitis media and how it can be treated.

 

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What is Acute Otitis Media?

 

Acute Otitis Media is a frequent bacterial or viral infection which affects the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum which contains the small vibrating bones of the ear. Children are more likely than adults to get this infection.

 

What are the Symptoms of Acute Otitis Media?

 

There are some symptoms of otitis media:

 

In children

 

1. Ear pain, especially when lying down

 

2. Tugging or pulling in the ear

 

3. Difficulty sleeping

 

4. Crying more than usual

 

5. Acting more irritable than usual

 

6. Difficulty hearing or responding to sounds

 

7. Loss of balance

 

8. Fever

 

9. Drainage of fluid from the ear

 

10. Headache

 

11. Loss of appetite

 

In Adults

 

1. Ear pain

 

2. Drainage of fluid from the ear

 

3. Diminished hearing

 

What are the Causes of Acute Otitis Media?

 

This infection is caused by a bacterium or virus in the middle ear. This infection early results from another illness cold, flu or allergy which causes congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat, and eustachian tubes.

 

What are the Risk Factors of Acute Otitis Media?

 

There are a few risk factors of otitis media:

 

Age

 

Children who are of the age 6 months to 2 years are more susceptible to ear infections because of the size and shape of their eustachian tubes and because of their poorly developed immune systems.

 

Childcare

 

Children car is more likely to get colds and ear infections than are children who stay home because they’re exposed to more infections, like- the common cold.

 

Infant Feeding

 

Babies who drink from the bottle, especially while lying down, tend to have more risk of having ear infections than babies who are breastfed.

 

Seasonal Factors

 

Ear infections are very common during the fall and winter when colds and flu are prevalent. People with seasonal allergies have a high risk of ear infections during seasonal high pollen counts.

 

Poor Air Quality

 

Smoke, tobacco and high levels of air pollution can increase the risk of ear infection.

 

What are the Complications of Acute Otitis Media?

 

There are some complications of otitis media:

 

Impaired Hearing:

 

Light hearing loss which comes and goes is fairly common with an ear infection, but it generally returns to what it was before the infection after the infection clears. In case there is some permanent damage to the eardrum or other middle ear structures, permanent hearing loss may occur.

 

Speech or Developmental Delays:

 

If the hearing is temporarily or permanently impaired in infants and toddlers, they may experience delays in speech, social and developmental skills.

 

Tearing of the Eardrum:

 

Most eardrum tears heal within 70 -72 hours. In some cases, surgical repairment is needed.

 

 

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What are the Preventions of Acute Otitis Media?

 

There are some preventions of otitis media:

 

Prevent Common Colds and Other Illnesses:

 

Educate your children to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly and to not share eating and drinking utensils. Instruct your children to cough or sneeze into their arm crook.

 

Avoid Secondhand Smoke:

 

Always make sure that no one smokes in your home. Stay in smoke-free environments.

 

Breast-Feed Your Baby:

 

Breast-feed your baby for at least 6months. Breast milk carries antibodies which may offer protection from ear infections.

 

Bottle-Feed

 

Always avoid supporting a bottle in your baby’s mouth while he or she is lying down. Always keep in mind to hold your baby in an upright position.

 

Talk to Your Doctor About Vaccinations:

 

Consult your doctor about what vaccinations are appropriate for your child, and the medications as well.

 

What is the Treatment of Acute Otitis Media?

 

Some ear infections resolve without treatment with antibiotics.

 

1. A warm Compress

 

Put a warm, moist washcloth over the affected ear, it may lessen pain.

 

2. Pain Medication

 

Your doctor may suggest the use of over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to relieve pain. Use the drugs as directed on the label. Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin because aspirin has been linked with Reye’s syndrome. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

 

3. Antibiotic Therapy

 

1. Children who are 6 months and older with moderate to severe ear pain in one or both ears for at least 48 hours or a temperature of 102.2 F (39 C) or higher.

 

2. Children who are 6 to 23 months with mild inner ear pain in one or both ears for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than 102.2 F (39 C).

 

3. Children who are 24 months and older with mild inner ear pain in one or both ears for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than 102.2 F (39 C).

 

Conclusion:

In the above article, we have talked about Acute Otitis Media and its symptoms, causes, risk factors, preventions and treatment. The best option to cure this infection is to take proper treatment and medications, therapies etc. These techniques would help to control this infection and make your loved ones happy and safe.

 

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