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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Otitis media is an ear infection.
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen helps decrease your pain and fever. They are available without a doctor's order. Ask your healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. These medicines can cause stomach bleeding if not taken correctly. Ibuprofen can cause kidney damage. Do not take ibuprofen if you have kidney disease, an ulcer, or allergies to aspirin. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage. Do not drink alcohol if you take acetaminophen.
- Ear drops help treat your ear pain.
- Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection that caused your ear infection.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Heat or ice:
- Heat may be used to decrease your pain. Place a warm, moist washcloth on your ear. Apply for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day
- Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the ice pack with a towel and place it on your ear for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day for 2 days.
Prevent otitis media:
- Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diapers, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.
- Stay away from people who are ill. Some germs are easily and quickly spread through contact.
Return to work or school:
You may return to work or school when your fever is gone.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your ear pain gets worse or does not go away, even after treatment.
- The outside of your ear is red or swollen.
- You have vomiting or diarrhea.
- You have fluid coming from your ear.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have a seizure.
- You have a fever and a stiff neck.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.