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Friday, December 31, 2010

Featured Condtion/Disease: Ear Infections

We are featuring a childhood/infant disease or condition informational post every other Friday.  Today's topic is Ear Infections.


Overview of Ear Infections

There are three main kinds of ear infections, which are called acute otitis (oh-TIE-tus) media (AOM), otitis media with effusion (uh-FEW-zhun) (OME), and otitis externa (Swimmer’s Ear). Sometimes ear infections can be painful and may even need antibiotics. Your healthcare provider will be able to determine what kind of ear infection you or your child has and if antibiotics would help.

Acute otitis media

The type of ear infection that is usually painful and may improve with antibiotic treatment is called acute otitis (oh-TIE-tus) media, or AOM. Symptoms of AOM include pain, redness of the eardrum, pus in the ear, and fever. Children may pull on the affected ear, and infants or toddlers may be irritable. Antibiotics are often prescribed to children for AOM, but are not always necessary.

Otitis media with effusion

Otitis media with effusion (uh-FEW-zhun), or OME, is a build up of fluid in the middle ear without signs and symptoms of acute infection (pain, redness of the eardrum, pus, and fever). OME is more common than AOM, and may be caused by viral upper respiratory infections, allergies, or exposure to irritants (such as cigarette smoke). The build up of fluid in the middle ear does not usually cause pain and almost always goes away on its own. OME will not usually benefit from antibiotic treatment.

Otitis externa (Swimmer’s Ear)

Otitis externa, more commonly known as Swimmer’s Ear, is an infection of the ear and/or outer ear canal. It can cause the ear to itch or become red and inflamed so that head movement or touching of the ear is very painful. There may also be pus that drains from the ear.  Antibiotics are usually needed to treat otitis externa.


Acute otitis media (AOM)

  • Pulling at ears
  • Excessive crying
  • Fluid draining from ears
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Problems with hearing
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty balancing

Otitis media with effusion (OME)

  • Problems with hearing
More Information

To get more information about ear infections, click here. 


*Most of the information provided here is from the CDC site, click here to visit their site.

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