Middle Ear Infection

(Otitis Media)

Otitis media is the medical name for an infection of the middle ear. Middle ear infections may occur in people of all ages, but are most common in children under 8 years old. Ear infections commonly occur as a resulting (secondary) condition from an upper respiratory infection. When you have an upper respiratory infection, your nose and sinuses often become inflamed. This inflammation may block the tube that connects the ear to the throat (Eustachian tube). Once this tube is blocked, the ear becomes more vulnerable to infection.

SYMPTOMS

  • Earache.

  • Hearing loss, partial or complete.

  • Popping sensation in the ear.

  • Feeling of fullness in the ear.

  • Fever.

  • Dizziness.

  • Fluid draining from the ear.

  • Nausea.

  • Stomach pain.

  • Dripping from the nose that is yellow or green in color.

  • Sharp ear pain.

PREVENTION

Seek medical care if you develop an upper respiratory infection.

TREATMENT

Ear infections are often treated with oral antibiotics. These should begin to make you feel better in 2 to 3 days. However, it is important to take the entire amount of antibiotics that have been prescribed to you. This will prevent resistant bacteria from growing. If you also have an upper respiratory infection that has caused sinus congestion, you may be given additional medicine, to help clear the Eustachian tube. This will relieve some of the pressure in the middle ear. In cases where the tympanic membrane (ear drum) has been ruptured, you may need surgery for repair, and to avoid permanent hearing loss.