HomeHealthHealthOtitis media: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment

Otitis media: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment

Otitis media, also called internal otitis, is inflammation of the ear that can happen due to the presence of viruses or bacteria or be a consequence of trauma or allergies, for example, occurring more frequently in children.

Thus, due to inflammation in the ear, it is possible that symptoms such as ear pain, presence of yellow or white secretions in the ear canal, fever and irritability are noticed.

In the presence of signs and symptoms indicative of otitis, it is important that the child is evaluated by the pediatrician, as this may allow an evaluation to be carried out and the most appropriate treatment started, which can be done with medication to alleviate the symptoms or antibiotics, when there is an indicative sign of infection.

Symptoms of otitis media

Symptoms of otitis media usually appear after a cold or sinus attack, resulting from inflammation in the ear. The main symptoms of otitis media are:

  • Presence of secretion or accumulation of fluid;
  • Decreased hearing;
  • Ear pain;
  • Fever;
  • Irritability;
  • Redness;
  • Eardrum perforation, in some cases, the presence of pus being noted;

In the case of the baby, it is possible to suspect that he has otitis when the baby often puts his hand on his ear, becomes more irritated, cries a lot and has difficulty sleeping, for example, it is important that the pediatrician is consulted.

Diagnosis is made by evaluating the signs and symptoms present and performing a physical examination, which consists of observing the ear with equipment called an otoscope. Thus, it is possible to observe any changes in the ear and be indicated the most appropriate treatment to combat inflammation and promote symptom relief.

Types of otitis media

Otitis media can also be divided into different types according to the signs and symptoms present, duration of symptoms and frequency of occurrence:

  • Acute otitis media: it is the most common form, with the rapid onset of signs and symptoms, such as earache and fever, caused by an acute infection of the middle ear;
  • Recurrent acute otitis media: it is acute otitis media that repeats for more than 3 episodes in 6 months or 4 episodes in 12 months, usually due to the same microorganism that proliferates again or due to new infections;
  • Serous otitis media: also called otitis media with effusion, is the presence of fluid in the middle ear, which can remain for several weeks to months, without causing signs or symptoms of infection;
  • Chronic suppurative otitis media: is characterized by the presence of persistent or recurrent purulent secretion, together with perforation of the tympanic membrane.

To differentiate between these types of otitis, the doctor usually performs a clinical evaluation, with a physical examination, observation of the ear with an otoscope, in addition to evaluating the signs and symptoms.

Main causes

Otitis media usually happens as a result of a flu, cold or sinus crisis and, therefore, is mainly caused by viruses and bacteria. The main viruses related to otitis media are Influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and rhinovirus, while the most frequent bacteria are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis.

However, this type of otitis can also be triggered by other situations, such as allergy, reflux, fungal infection or anatomical changes in the ear, but these causes are rarer.

How is the treatment done

Treatment for otitis media may vary depending on the symptoms presented and the cause. Usually, the doctor recommends the use of medication to promote the relief of symptoms, such as dipyrone and ibuprofen, for example. If otitis media is associated with a flu, cold or allergy, your doctor may also recommend decongestants and antihistamines.

If the presence of infection is verified, the use of antibiotics for 5 to 10 days may be recommended, such as Amoxicillin, for example, which is generally used when symptoms persist even after starting treatment with other remedies, if there are changes on examination of the tympanic membrane if the eardrum is perforated or if symptoms are very severe.

Depending on the type and severity of otitis, treatment may also involve surgery to drain fluid from the ear, or tympanoplasty, in case of eardrum perforation.

Home Treatment Options

During the treatment indicated by the doctor, and never replacing it, some measures can be taken at home to speed up recovery and alleviate symptoms, such as:

  • drink plenty of fluids, staying hydrated throughout the day;
  • Stay home, avoiding tiring exercises or activities;
  • Eating healthy and balanced, with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds, as they are rich in omega-3 and other nutrients that help for a better recovery from inflammation;
  • make a warm compress on the outside of the ear, it can help relieve pain.

In addition, you should never drip any product into the ear, except those indicated by the doctor, as this can worsen inflammation and impair recovery.

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