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  Otitis media

Otitis media describes inflammation of the middle ear and is also known as a middle ear infection. Otitis media and otitis externa are commonly referred to as ear infections.

Otitis media Ear infections
Otitis media


There are four types of otitis media: acute otitis media, otitis media with effusion, chronic otitis media and adhesive otitis media. Acute otitis media is an ear infection that not only is inflamed, but pus and fluid are present in the middle ear. Usually the patient has a cold. Otitis media with effusion has in the past been referred to as serous otitis media or secretory otitis media. Otitis media with effusion is an ear infection in which the only signs are drainage from the ear. Chronic otitis media is a persistent infection which lasts more than two weeks or is recurring. Adhesive otitis media is also known as glue ear. Adhesive otitis media involved fluid that is similar to thick glue and causes conductive hearing loss.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a middle ear infection are pain, sleeplessness, redness of the ear and fever. A child you cannot speak yet may tug on the ear lobe and cry more than ususal.

An ear infection begins when the tissues around the Eustachian tubes swell from a sinus infection or severe congestion. The Eustachian tubes connect the middle ear to the sinuses. When the Eustachian tubes become blocked for a period of time air in the middle ear gets absorbed by surrounding tissues. This creates a negative vacuum or suction causing fluid to build up in the middle ear. The fluid is an excellent culture for dormant bacteria that resides behind the eardrum or Tympanum. The bacteria multiply and cause the fluid to become infected. Oterrhea is a condition also known as runny ears. This is a chronic drainage of pus or fluid from the ears. Sometimes the middle ear becomes so infected that pressure builds up behind the eardrum. This pressure can rupture the ear drum causing the pus to drain out of the ear. The initial rupture may cause pain, but actually causes significant relief to a patient with otitis media, releasing the pressure and fluid.

Cause

There are some bacteria that cause otitis media such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae. Ear infections can also result from the common cold.

Treatment

Otitis media treatment involves relatively new guidelines for medical practitioner. Antibiotics were the usual course of treatment immediately when an infection is diagnosed. Currently it is recommended that the patient is treated for pain relief for 72 hours before considering antibiotic treatment. Otitis media has a 60% of clearing up on its own without intervention. There are no significant impairments that result from waiting to treat with antibiotics.

Chronic cases of drainage can be treated with a tympanostomy tube. This tube is surgically inserted into the eardrum. The tube allows air to flow behind the ear drum, releasing pressure buildup and clearing fluid. The procedure, performed under general anesthesia, is simple, effective and has a small recovery time.

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