What is otitis media?
Otitis media is infection or inflammation located in the middle ear. About 75 percent of children have at least one episode of otitis media by the time they are three years of age. Otitis media can also affect adults, although it is primarily a disease that occurs most often in children.
What causes otitis media?
Inflammation usually begins when infections due to sore throats, colds, or other respiratory problems, spread to the middle ear. These infections cause fluid buildup behind the eardrum.
What are the symptoms of otitis media?
The following are the most common symptoms of otitis media. However, individuals may experience symptoms differently.
Common signs of otitis media in children include:
Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
Tugging or pulling at one or both ears
Fever, especially in infants and younger children
Fluid draining from ear(s)
Loss of balance
The symptoms of otitis media may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.
What are the effects of otitis media?
In addition to the symptoms of otitis media listed above, untreated otitis media can result in any or all of the following:
Can otitis media be prevented?
Cold and allergy medications do not appear to prevent otitis media. And, currently, there is no vaccine that can prevent the disease. However, it is important to consult your health care provider and make sure your child's vaccinations are up-to-date. There are certain factors that seem to increase the chances of otitis media developing in some children. These include:
How is otitis media diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, the health care provider will inspect the outer ear(s) and eardrum(s) using an otoscope. The otoscope is a lighted instrument that allows the health care provider to see inside the ear. A pneumatic otoscope blows a puff of air into the ear to test eardrum movement.
A tympanometry, a test that allows for air and sound to be directed into the middle ear, may also be performed.
A hearing test may be performed for people who have frequent ear infections.
Treatment for otitis media
Specific treatment for otitis media will be determined by your health care provider based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the disease
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the disease
Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
Amoxicillin Trihydrate Oral tablet, extended release 24 hour
Cefixime Oral tablet
Azithromycin Eye drops, solution
Amoxicillin Trihydrate, Clavulanate Potassium Oral tablet
Clarithromycin Oral tablet, extended-release
Amoxicillin Trihydrate, Clavulanate Potassium Chewable tablet
Amoxicillin Trihydrate Chewable tablet
Azithromycin Oral suspension, extended release
Cefaclor Monohydrate Chewable tablet
Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride, Dexamethasone Ear drops, suspension
Cefaclor Monohydrate Oral tablet, extended-release
Sulfamethoxazole, Trimethoprim Solution for injection
Sulfamethoxazole, Trimethoprim Oral suspension
Sulfamethoxazole, Trimethoprim Oral tablet
Sulfadiazine Oral tablet
Ofloxacin Eye drops, solution
Ofloxacin Ear drops, solution
Ofloxacin Oral tablet
Amoxicillin Trihydrate, Clavulanate Potassium Oral suspension
Amoxicillin Trihydrate, Clavulanate Potassium Oral tablet, extended-release
Ampicillin Sodium Solution for injection
Ampicillin trihydrate Oral suspension
Ampicillin trihydrate Oral capsule
Amoxicillin Trihydrate Oral suspension
Erythromycin, Sulfisoxazole Oral suspension
Clarithromycin Oral suspension
Clarithromycin Oral tablet
Azithromycin Solution for injection
Azithromycin Oral tablet
Azithromycin Oral suspension
Ceftriaxone Sodium Solution for injection
Ceftibuten Dihydrate Oral suspension
Ceftibuten Dihydrate Oral capsule
Cefpodoxime Proxetil Oral suspension
Cefpodoxime Proxetil Oral tablet
Cefixime Oral suspension
Cefdinir Oral suspension
Cefdinir Oral capsule
Cefuroxime Sodium Solution for injection
Cefuroxime Axetil Oral suspension
Cefuroxime Axetil Oral tablet
Cefprozil Oral suspension
Cefprozil Oral tablet
Cefaclor Monohydrate Oral suspension
Cefaclor Monohydrate Oral capsule
Cephalexin Monohydrate Oral suspension
Trimethoprim Oral solution
Trimethoprim Oral tablet