Otitis Media

Otitis media is infection or inflammation of the middle ear. It is a viral or bacterial infection that affects the middle ear and can be acute or chronic. It is most common in children and causes fluid build up in the middle ear. Fluid build up causes pain and temporary hearing loss.A cold or other respiratory infections can lead to otitis media.Bottle feeding and exposure to people infected with cold also increases ones risk.Ear infection usually clears up on its own so treatment is mostly targeted to pain management while patient is observed. Antibiotics or ear tube can also be used in treatment.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of otitis media in children

difficulty sleeping
ear pain
pulling ear
headache
fever
loss of balance
drainage from the ear
loss of appetite
diarrhea
vomiting
irritable
severe infection may cause ear drum to rapture

Symptoms of otitis media in adults include ear pain, drainage from ear, sore throat, impaired hearing. When symptoms get to the point where chid is in severe pain, fluid is being discharged from the ear or symptoms have lasted more than a day, seeking medical advice is essential.

CAUSES

Otitis media is usually caused by a bacterium or virus in the middle ear. This can be the result of an illness such a cold, flu and other upper respiratory infection.

TYPES OF OTITIS MEDIA

ACUTE OTITIS MEDIA

It usually happens rapidly and have short duration. This is usually associated by fluid accumulation in the middle ear,perforated ear drum accompanied by pain and pus drainage from the ear. Fever may also be present. Ear infection usually last only several weeks.

CHRONIC OTITIS MEDIA

This is persistent inflammation of the middle ear that last for a month and over. It develops after prolonged period of fluid and pressure behind the ear drum. There may be no pain or fever associated with chronic otitis media and can cause ongoing damage to the middle ear or ear drum.

RISK FACTORS

Age: Children between the ages of 6 months to 2 years are more susceptible to otitis media because of their poorly developed immune system and shape and size of their eustachian tube

Seasona: Ear infection is more common in fall and winter when flu ,common cold and other allergies are prevalent

Group day care: Kids in group daycare are at high risk because of high infection rate.

Infant Feeding . Bottle fed babies are at high risk especially when they feed lying down

Family history: If otitis media is common in your family, you are likely to get it too

Exposure to tobacco smoke and high levels of pollution will certain increase your risk

American Indians and Inuits of Alaska and Canada have an increased risk of ear infections.

Children with cleft palate or Down syndrome are more prone to ear infections

TEST AND DIAGNOSIS

diagnosing otitis media is usually based on symptoms presented to the doctor and examination of the ear.

Pneumatic otoscope helps a doctor to make a diagnosis of an ear infection by determining the amount of fluid behind the ear drum

Tympanometry measures eardrum movement and measures indirectly the pressure in the middle ear.

Acoustic reflectometry measures how sound it emitted back from the ear drum

TREATMENT

Most ear infection dont treatment. However in severe cases treatment of pain and antibiotic may be needed.

Pain medication Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others) may be used to relive pain. Aspirin has been linked with Reye’s syndrome, use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers.

Eardrops Eardrops such as antipyrine-benzocaine (Aurodex) may be used for pain management.

Antibiotic therapy . This may be used when children are less than 6 months old, when pain is severe and when fever sets in

Ear Tube An Outpatient surgical procedure called a myringotomy is used to suction fluids out of the middle ear.A tiny tube is placed in the opening to help ventilate the middle ear and prevent the accumulation of more fluids The tube fall out or are removed surgically after which the ear drum closes again.

It is important to monitor children with persistent infection and fluid build up.

PREVENTION

prevent common colds and other upper respiratory infections
bottle feed your baby in an upright position
breastfeed your baby
avoid air filled with pollutant such as tobacco smoke

COMPLICATION

Mild hearing loss
Speech or developmental delays
Untreated infections or infections that don’t respond well to treatment can spread to nearby tissues

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