Acute Otitis Media
Alternate Names : Middle Ear Infection
What can be done to prevent the condition?
If a child has abnormalities of the eustachian tube, there is often no way to prevent the disease. These children often need ventilation tubes placed through their eardrums to bypass the poorly functioning eustachian tube.
There are methods to help prevent infections:
Allergies should be treated promptly.
A child fed before bedtime or awaked at night for a feeding should be held with its head above the stomach. This prevents formula or juice from pooling around the eustachian tube openings.
Children with frequent ear infections should have vaccines as recommended by the healthcare provider. These may include flu and pneumonia vaccines.
Parents of children at risk of developing ear infections should not smoke. If parents cannot stop smoking, they should not smoke around children.
Preventing colds is important. Avoiding other sick children and frequent hand washing can reduce the spread of cold viruses.
If ear infections continue in spite of preventive efforts, the healthcare provider may recommend other measures. If the ear infections follow colds, starting an antibiotic at the same time the cold starts can be helpful. Antibiotics do not treat the viral infection. They reduce the bacteria where the eustachian tubes drain. The provider may also recommend a preventive dose of antibiotics to be given daily during the cold season.
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
Fortunately, there are very few long-term effects if the infection is properly treated. In rare cases, an infection may cause damage to the nerve of the inner ear. This can result in deafness. Rarely, an ear infection can lead to meningitis or brain abscess.
What are the risks to others?
Acute otitis media is not contagious. It causes no risk to others.