Children's Ear Infections

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Anyone can get an ear infection, but children get them more often than adults. Three out of four children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. Dr. Edward Hill discusses childrens ear infections in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Acute otitis media or AOM is an infection that usually involves fever, pain and evidence of middle ear inflammation and fluid.

Otitis media with effusion or OME is fluid in the middle ear without signs of infection.

Risk factors for both include exposure to cigarette smoke, allergies, respiratory infections and drinking while lying on ones back.

Treat ear pain with analgesic eardrops or an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen.

For OME, routine use of antihistamines, decongestants and antibiotics is not recommended. Children should have a hearing test if OME lasts longer than three months or when there are suspected hearing, language or learning problems.

For AOM, treatment may include antibiotics.

Tympanostomy tubes are inserted when OME lasts longer than three months, there is recurrent AOM or there is significant hearing loss.

Even if fluid is present for several months, most otherwise healthy children have no long-term hearing damage or problems with language development.

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