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Otitis Media, Ambulatory Care

Otitis media

is an ear infection.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Fever or a headache
  • Ear pain
  • Trouble hearing
  • Ear feels plugged or full or you have ringing or buzzing in your ear
  • Dizziness or you lose your balance
  • Nausea or vomiting

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Seizure
  • Fever and a stiff neck

Treatment for otitis media

may include any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Ear drops to help treat your ear pain.
  • Antibiotics to help kill the germs that caused your ear infection.

Care for otitis media:

  • Use heat. Place a warm, moist washcloth on your ear to decrease pain. Apply for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day
  • Use ice. 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. This will help prevent the spread of germs. Encourage everyone in your house to wash their hands with soap and water after they use the bathroom. Everyone should also wash their hands after they change a child's diaper and before they prepare or eat food.
  • Stay away from people who are ill. Germs are easily and quickly spread through contact.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.