Ear infections: facts for parents about otitis media. (Parents).* What is Otitis Media Otitis Media Definition
Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear space, behind the eardrum (tympanic membrane). It is characterized by pain, dizziness, and partial loss of hearing. ?
* Are There Different Types of Otitis Media?
* How Does Otitis Media Happen?
* What's Happening Inside the Ear When My Child Has an Ear Infection?
* Can Otitis Media Affect My Child's Hearing?
* How Do I Know if My Child Has Otitis Media?
* What Will a Doctor Do?
* How Can I Be Sure I am Giving the Medicine Correctly?
* Will My Child Need Surgery?
* What About Children in Daycare, Pre-School, or School?
* What Else Can I Do for My Child?
* How Can I Get More Information?
What is Otitis Media?
Otitis media is an ear infection. Three out of four children experience otitis media by the time they are 3 years old. In fact, ear infections are the most common illnesses in babies and young children.
Are There Different Types of Otitis Media?
Yes. There are two main types. The first type is called acute otitis media Acute otitis media
Inflammation of the middle ear with signs of infection lasting less than three months.
Mentioned in: Myringotomy and Ear Tubes
acute otitis media (AOM AOM Academy of Management
AOM Age of Mythology (Ensemble Studios game)
AOM Acute Otitis Media (middle ear infection)
AOM Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
AOM America on the Move ). This means that parts of the ear are infected in·fect
tr.v. in·fect·ed, in·fect·ing, in·fects
1. To contaminate with a pathogenic microorganism or agent.
2. To communicate a pathogen or disease to.
3. To invade and produce infection in. and swollen. It also means that fluid and mucus mucus /mu·cus/ (mu´kus) the free slime of the mucous membranes, composed of secretion of the glands, various salts, desquamated cells, and leukocytes.
n. are trapped inside the ear. AOM can be painful.
The second type is called otitis media with effusion otitis media with effusion Secretory otitis media, see there (fluid), or OME (Open Messaging Environment) An open messaging system from Novell. It is based on Microsoft's MAPI and is a superset of Novell's MHS and WordPerfect Office's messaging systems. . This means fluid and mucus stay trapped in the ear after the infection is over. OME makes it harder for the ear to fight new infections. This fluid can also affect your child's hearing.
How Does Otitis Media Happen?
Otitis media usually happens when viruses and/or bacteria get inside the ear and cause an infection. It often happens as a result of another illness, such as a cold. If your child gets sick, it might affect his or her ears.
It is harder for children to fight illness than it is for adults, so children develop ear infections more often. Some researchers believe that other factors, such as being around cigarette smoke, can contribute to ear infections.
What's Happening Inside the Ear When My Child Has an Ear Infection?
When the ears are infected the eustachian tubes Eustachian tube (ystā`shən) [for Bartolomeo Eustachi], a hollow structure of bone and cartilage extending from the middle ear to the rear of the throat, or pharynx, technically become inflamed and swollen. The adenoids adenoids (ăd`ənoidz'), common name for the pharyngeal tonsils, spongy masses of lymphoid tissue that occupy the nasopharynx, the space between the back of the nose and the throat. can also become infected.
* The eustachian tubes are inside the ear. They keep air pressure stable in the ear. These tubes also help supply the ears with fresh air.
* The adenoids are located near the eustachian tubes. Adenoids are clumps clump
1. A clustered mass; a lump: clumps of soil.
2. A thick grouping, as of trees or bushes.
3. A heavy dull sound; a thud.
v. of cells that fight infections.
Swollen and inflamed eustachian tubes often get clogged with fluid and mucus from a cold. If the fluids plug the openings of the eustachian tubes, air and fluid get trapped inside the ear. These tubes are smaller and straighter in children than they are in adults. This makes it harder for fluid to drain out of the ear and is one reason that children get more ear infections than adults. The infections are usually painful.
Adenoids are located in the throat, near the eustachian tubes. Adenoids can become infected and swollen. They can also block the openings of the eustachian tubes, trapping trapping, most broadly, the use of mechanical or deceptive devices to capture, kill, or injure animals. It may be applied to the practice of using birdlime to capture birds, lobster pots to trap lobsters, and seines to catch fish. air and fluid. Just like the eustachian tubes, the adenoids are different in children than in adults. In children, the adenoids are larger, so they can more easily block the opening of the eustachian tube.
Can Otitis Media Affect My Child's Hearing?
Yes. An ear infection can cause temporary hearing problems. Temporary speech and language problems can happen, too. If left untreated, these problems can become more serious.
An ear infection affects important parts in the ear that help us hear. Sounds around us are collected by the outer ear. Then sound travels to the middle ear, which has three tiny bones and is filled with air. After that, sound moves on to the inner ear. The inner ear is where sounds are turned into electrical signals and sent to the brain. An ear infection affects the whole ear, but especially the middle and inner ear. Hearing is affected because sound cannot get through an ear that is filled with fluid.
How Do I Know if My Child Has Otitis Media?
It is not always easy to know if your child has an ear infection. Sometimes you have to watch carefully. Your child may get an ear infection before he or she has learned how to talk. If your child is not old enough to say, "My ear hurts," you need to look for other signals that there is a problem.
Here are a few signs your child might show you if he or she has otitis media:
* Does she tug or pull at her ears?
* Does he cry more than usual?
* Do you see fluid draining out of her ears?
* Does he have trouble sleeping?
* Can she keep her balance?
* Does he have trouble hearing?
* Does she seem not to respond to quiet sounds?
A child with an ear infection may show you any of these signs. If you see any of them, call a doctor.
What Will a Doctor Do?
Your doctor will examine your child's ear. The doctor can tell you for sure if your child has an ear infection. The doctor may also give your child medicine. Medicines called antibiotics Antibiotics Definition
Antibiotics may be informally defined as the subgroup of anti-infectives that are derived from bacterial sources and are used to treat bacterial infections. are sometimes given for ear infections. It is important to know how they work. Antibiotics only work against organisms Organisms
See also animals; bacteria; biology; plants; zoology.
Biology, Physiology. the synthesis in living organisms of more complex substances from simpler ones. Cf. catabolism. — anabolic, adj. called bacteria, which can cause illness. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, such as those associated with a cold. In order to be effective, antibiotics must be taken until they are finished. A few days after the medicine starts working, your child may stop pulling on his or her ear and appear to be feeling better. This does not mean the infection is gone. The medicine must still be taken. If not, the bacteria can come back. You need to follow the doctor's directions exactly.
Your doctor may also give your child pain relievers, such as acetaminophen acetaminophen (əsēt'əmĭn`əfĭn), an analgesic and fever-reducing medicine similar in effect to aspirin. It is an active ingredient in many over-the-counter medicines, including Tylenol and Midol. . Medicines such as antihistamines Antihistamines Definition
Antihistamines are drugs that block the action of histamine (a compound released in allergic inflammatory reactions) at the H1 and decongestants Decongestants Definition
Decongestants are medicines used to relieve nasal congestion (stuffy nose).
A congested or stuffy nose is a common symptom of colds and allergies. do not help in the prevention or treatment of otitis media.
How Can I Be Sure I Am Giving the Medicine Correctly?
If your doctor gives you a prescription for medicine for your child, make sure you understand the directions completely before you leave his or her office. Here are a few suggestions about giving medicine to your child.
1. Read. Make sure the pharmacy pharmacy, art of compounding and dispensing drugs and medication. The term is also applied to an establishment used for such purposes. Until modern times medication was prepared and dispensed by the physician himself. In the 18th cent. has given you printed information about the medicine and clear instructions about how to give it to your child. Read the information that comes with the medicine. If you have any problems understanding the information, ask the pharmacist pharmacist /phar·ma·cist/ (fahr´mah-sist) one who is licensed to prepare and sell or dispense drugs and compounds, and to make up prescriptions.
n. , your doctor, or a nurse. You should know the answers to the following questions:
* Does the medicine need to be refrigerated re·frig·er·ate
tr.v. re·frig·er·at·ed, re·frig·er·at·ing, re·frig·er·ates
1. To cool or chill (a substance).
2. To preserve (food) by chilling. ?
* How many times a day will I be giving my child this medicine?
* How many days will my child take this medicine?
* Should it be given with food or without food?
2. Plan. Sometimes it is hard to remember when you have given your child a dose of medicine. Before you give the first dose, make a written plan or chart to cover all of the days of the medication. Some children may require 10 to 14 days of treatment.
Your chart might look like this if your child's prescription is for 3 times a day with food:
Maria's Medicine Chart Sample Only 3 Times a Day With Food Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10
Put your chart on the refrigerator so you can check off the doses at every meal. Be sure to measure carefully. Use a measuring spoon A measuring spoon is a spoon used to measure an amount of a substance, either liquid or dry, when cooking. Measuring spoons may be made of plastic, metal, and other materials. They are available in many sizes, including Teaspoon and Tablespoon. See also
3. Follow Through. Be sure to give all of the medicine to your child. Make sure it is given at the right times. If your doctor asks you to bring your child back for a "recheck", do it on schedule. Your doctor wants to know if the ears are clear of fluid and if the infection has stopped. Write down and ask the doctor any questions you have before you leave his or her office.
Will My Child Need Surgery?
Some children with otitis media need surgery. The most common surgical treatment involves having small tubes placed inside the ear. This surgery is called a myringotomy myringotomy /my·rin·got·o·my/ (mi-ring-got´ah-me) tympanotomy; creation of a hole in the tympanic membrane, as for tympanocentesis.
n. . It is recommended when fluids from an ear infection stay in the ear for several months. At that stage, fluid may cause hearing loss and speech problems. A doctor called an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat surgeon) will help you through this process if your child needs an operation. The operation will require anesthesia anesthesia (ănĭsthē`zhə) [Gr.,=insensibility], loss of sensation, especially that of pain, induced by drugs, especially as a means of facilitating safe surgical procedures. .
In a myringotomy, a surgeon makes a small opening in the ear drum. Then a tube is placed in the opening. The tube works to relieve pressure in the clogged ear so that the child can hear again. Fluid cannot build up in the ear if the tube is venting venting,
n an exit passage constructed in a casting mold to allow gases to escape during the casting process.
venting Ventilation Psychology The verbalization* of one's 'emotional baggage' to another person; qvetching it with fresh air.
After a few months, the tubes will fall out on their own. In rare cases, a child may need to have a myringotomy more than once.
Another kind of surgery removes the adenoids. This is called an adenoidectomy. Removing the adenoids has been shown to help some children with otitis media who are between the ages of 4 and 8. We know less about whether this can help children under age 4.
What About Children in Daycare, Pre-School, or School?
Even before your child has an ear infection or needs to take medicine, ask the daycare program or school about their medication policy. Sometimes you will need a note from your doctor for the staff at the school. The note can tell the people at your child's school how and when to give your child medicine if it is needed during school hours. Some schools will not give children medicine. If this is the case at your child's school, ask your doctor how to schedule your child's medicine.
What Else Can I Do for My Child?
Here are a few things you can do to lower your child's risk of getting otitis media. The best thing you can do is to pay attention to your child. Know the warning signs of ear infections, and be on the lookout if your child gets a cold. If you think your child has an ear infection, call the doctor.
Do not smoke around your child. Smoke is not good for the delicate parts inside your child's ear.
How Can I Get More Information?
You can get more information by contacting any of the following organizations.
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 1 Prince Street Alexandria, VA 22314 Voice: (703) 836-4444 TTY: (703) 519-1585 E-mail: email@example.com Internet: www.entnet.org (This site features a special parent publication on ear infections.) American Academy of Family Physicians 11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway Leawood, KS 66211-2672 Voice: (913) 906-6000 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.aafp.org (This site also features a fact sheet on ear infections.) American Academy of Audiology 8300 Greensboro Drive, Suite 750 McLean, VA 22102-3611 Voice: (800) AAA-2336 Fax: (703) 790-8631 Internet: www.audiology.org American Academy of Pediatrics 141 Northwest Point Boulevard Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098 Voice: (847) 434-4000 Fax: (847) 434-8000 E-mail: email@example.com Internet:www.aap.org American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 10801 Rockville Pike Rockville, MD 20852 Voice/TTY: (301) 897-5700 Voice: (800) 638-8255 Fax: (301) 571-0457 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.asha.om
Updated: July 2001
NIH "Not invented here." See digispeak.
NIH - The United States National Institutes of Health. Publication No. 00-4216
For more information, contact the NIDCD NIDCD National Institute on Deafness & other Communication Disorders Information Clearinghouse.