Middle ear infection is also referred to as the otitis media and is triggered by some virus or bacteria. Middle ear infections are often known to occur simultaneously with allergies, cold, enlarged adenoids, throat, and nose infection. Generally, middle ear infections would be clearing up without any long-term effects or serious issues.
Middle Ear Infection Management
Most of the times middle ear infections would become better and clear up on their own but sometimes they need to be treated with effective antibiotics. Your child’s audiologist would be determining if antibiotic treatment should be initiated. Otitis media does not usually involve permanent damage to your ears and even hearing issues are known to be temporary. Treatments may include any or all of the following depending on case specifications.
Observation without Antibiotics
The doctor would be deciding that your kid need not be treated with antibiotics for the middle ear infection for the time being depending on your child’s age and the severity of the infection. Many ear infections clear up by themselves without any kind of antibiotics. The audiologist would inform you about the symptoms and how long they would normally be lasting for.
If an earache subsides after some days, and if the symptoms are clearing up, your child may not be prescribed any antibiotics. If even after 48 hours, there is no sign of any improvement, antibiotics would be started and you would need to wait for minimum another 48 hours to see the effects of the antibacterial medication.
Treatment with Antibiotics
Some middle ear infection cases would necessitate immediate antibiotic treatment. The symptoms that necessitate prompt antibiotic treatment are:
- Moderate to Severe Earache
- High Fever over 38.8°C or102°F
- Chronic clinical conditions such as cystic fibrosis or heart disease that could put a patient at a risk of further complications from any kind of ear infections
- Children who are not even 2 years old as risk of complications seem to be much higher in case of very young kids.
- If there is no improvement in condition or if the condition takes a turn for the worse within 48 to almost 72 hours from the commencement of the illness.
Antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor only when he thinks that the symptoms demand it and these are necessary to effectively kill the bacteria responsible for an earache and infection. You must remember to administer the regular doses and continue doing so till the antibiotic course is finished. You must complete the course even if the pain subsides and the fever goes away. It is important to complete the antibiotic course to avoid any further risks of the infection flaring up again. Antibiotics may trigger side effects like diarrhoea, nausea, yeast infections or rashes and they may interact with some other medications. Very rarely allergic reactions would be occurring after administration of antibiotics.
Pain Relief Medications
Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen could be effective in relieving an earache or even keep the temperature down until antibiotics prove their efficacy. These medicines are effective in controlling the pain within just a couple of hours of consuming them. An earache is usually, more painful during bedtime. You could use a warm compress that is applied outside the ear for effective pain relief. This is generally, not recommended in case of an infant.
If your doctor examines and discovers that there is fluid in your ear for over 3 months, he would be suggesting Myringotomy. This procedure involves insertion of the small plastic or metal tubes through your eardrum for equalizing pressure between your outer and middle ear. This is basically an outpatient procedure meant for children. This procedure is mostly done with anaesthesia. The tubes would be left alone for six months to about a year. They would be falling out by themselves. You need to keep your outer ear free from water and completely dry till the holes are closed completely.
Middle ear infection is not supposed to be contagious and kids could go back to school or return to day-care once the fever goes away and the pain subsides. Air travel is allowed. Chewing on gums, swallowing fluids or sucking a pacifier could be helpful in relieving discomfort and uneasiness during air travel. If you still unclear about middle ear infection, feel free to contact us today for a appointment.