are symptoms of a middle ear infection (otitis media)?
pulling, or rubbing ears
or drainage from ears
is the cause of a middle ear infection?
ear infections occur when the Eustachian tubes of the middle
ear become swollen or blocked causing pressure and fluid to
build on the eardrum. Ear infections can be caused by a virus
or a bacteria. Although ear infections are not contagious,
viruses that can lead to them can be.
of ear infections
is a common belief of parents that all ear infections need
to be treated with antibiotics. This belief is untrue. Although,
ear infections caused by bacteria need to be treated with
antibiotics, ear infections caused by viruses do not. Using
antibiotics to treat an ear infection caused by a virus will
not speed recovery and may in fact contribute to antibiotic
resistance. Approximately 80 percent of children with abnormally
looking ears will get better without the use of antibiotics.
(Bell, Brooks, Manning, Steinmann, 1998) It can be difficult
to differentiate whether an ear infection is caused by a bacteria
or a virus so your doctor may take a wait and see approach.
Viral infections will usually show improvement within a day
or so. If your child has a fever or is in severe pain, your
doctor may choose to prescribe an antibiotic. In either case,
consulting your doctor is advised.
doctor may recommend the use of Tylenol to help with any associated
pain and/or fever. Heating pads have also shown to be helpful
in providing comfort.
children will experience recurrent ear infections that do
not respond to treatment. For some children, the placement
of tubes in the ears is necessary.
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicable Disorders,
Statistics about Hearing Disorders, Ear Infections, and Deafness.
Retrieved August 8, 2005, from http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/hearing.asp
l., Brooks, J, Manning, M., Steinmann, M. (1998). Guide
to Common Childhood Infections. New York, NY: Macmillan
N. (2003). Human Diseases and Conditions Supplement 2:
Infections Diseases. New York, NY: Scribner