Otitis media is a middle ear infection that can occur at any age, but is most common in children. It is typically caused by bacteria or viruses entering the middle ear through the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat.
Symptoms of otitis media may include ear pain, fever, headache, and hearing loss. Young children may also exhibit signs of irritability, ear tugging, and difficulty sleeping.
Treatment for otitis media may involve antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, to kill the bacteria causing the infection. Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may also be recommended to reduce pain and fever. In some cases, drainage of fluid from the ear may be necessary to relieve pressure and facilitate healing.
Prevention of otitis media involves good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with people who have respiratory infections. It is also important to manage underlying conditions, such as allergies or sinusitis, that can increase the risk of developing otitis media. Additionally, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and influenza vaccine may help reduce the risk of developing middle ear infections.