Otitis, a general term for inflammation or infection of the ear, is a common childhood disease. Otitis media (middle ear infection) is the second most common infectious disease after nasopharyngitis, a condition in which the throat and nasal passages become infected and inflamed. The most common childhood ear infection affects the middle ear. An ear infection can occur in isolation or accompany another disease, such as postnasal drip. Otitis can affect one or both ears.
Any of the following symptoms may accompany an infectious episode caused by otitis. Usually the child will make it clear that he / she has an ear infection.
- A runny nose a few days before the onset of otitis
- Sudden pain, violent, heavy and throbbing of the affected ear
- Sensation of plugged ear
- Appearance of a blood
- The child may have difficulty hearing
- Crying, fatigue, fever, headache, sore throat and difficulty sleeping may accompany infectious episode caused by otitis.
Treatment options for Ear Infections
The physical structure of the ear, nose and throat of a child can cause chronic (persistent / long term) ear infections. In this case, your doctor may recommend that the establishment of ventilation tubes in the ear or the removal of adenoids – the lining of the upper part of the throat behind the nose.
Most ear infections resolve spontaneously within a few days. This is why experts recommend the doctor to wait 2-3 days before prescribing antibiotics in some cases of acute ear infection.
Depending on the condition of your child, your doctor may recommend medication or surgery. Ear infections are the most common cause of hearing loss in children, which can affect learning and speech development. In some cases, hearing loss may be permanent.
If the infection is bacterial, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If the infection is viral, antibiotics will not help. Using antibiotics when they are not needed can be harmful and can lead to the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Your doctor may prescribe a pain reliever for you or your child be more comfortable while the virus is active.
If the ear infection keeps coming back or lasts, your doctor may suggest surgery. Surgical treatments include the introduction of a ventilation tube in the eardrum to drain the fluid or removal of swollen or inflamed adenoids (adenoidectomy), where bacteria can multiply and prevent the natural drainage in the throat.