Acute Otitis Media

Friday, February 04, 2011

Next to the common cold, ear infections are the most commonly diagnosed childhood illness in the United States. More than three out of four kids have had at least one ear infection by the time they reach 3 years of age. Dr. Edward Hill discusses middle ear infections in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Acute otitis media, or middle ear infection, is extremely common in children and also occurs in adults.

In acute otitis media, infection occurs behind the eardrum. It is usually caused by bacteria. In some individuals, ear infections may occur again and again.

Acute otitis media is an infection and is different than otitis media with effusion, the presence of fluid in the middle ear without infection.

Symptoms of the condition include fever, ear pain, rubbing of the ear and drainage.

Children who have environmental allergies, who are exposed to tobacco smoke, or who have eustachian tube dysfunction are more likely to have acute otitis media or effusion.

More than 80 percent of ear infections can resolve on their own. Sometimes antibiotic treatment is necessary and is recommended for infants younger than 6 months with an infection.

Ear tubes are not the first-line treatment for acute otitis media, though they may be offered to individuals who have chronic middle ear fluid or chronic otitis media.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.