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Otitis Media In Children, Ambulatory Care

Otitis media

is an infection in one or both ears. Children are most likely to get ear infections when they are between 3 months and 3 years old. Ear infections are most common during the winter and early spring months. Your child may have an ear infection more than once.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Fever
  • Ear pain or tugging, pulling, or rubbing of the ear
  • Decreased appetite from painful sucking, swallowing, or chewing
  • Fussiness, restlessness, or difficulty sleeping
  • Yellow fluid or pus coming from the ear
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Dizziness or loss of balance

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Blood or pus draining from your child's ear
  • Confusion or your child cannot stay awake
  • Stiff neck and a fever

Treatment for otitis media

may include medicines to decrease your child's pain or fever or medicine to treat an infection caused by bacteria. Ear tubes may be used to keep fluid from collecting in your child's ears. Your child may need these to help prevent frequent ear infections or hearing loss. During this procedure, the healthcare provider will cut a small hole in your child's eardrum.

Prevent otitis media:

  • Wash your and your child's hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. Encourage everyone in your house to wash their hands with soap and water after they use the bathroom, change a diaper, and before they prepare or eat food.
  • Keep your child away from people who are ill, such as sick playmates. Germs spread easily and quickly in daycare centers.
  • If possible, breastfeed your baby. Your baby may be less likely to get an ear infection if he is breastfed.
  • Do not give your child a bottle while he is lying down. This may cause liquid from his sinuses to leak into his eustachian tube.
  • Keep your child away from people who smoke.
  • Vaccinate your child. Ask your child's healthcare provider about the shots your child needs.

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.

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Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes