Otitis media: symptoms, treatment
The disease does not seem dangerous and almost every parent had to face it. However, behind the mask of invisible ailments lies the source of serious complications associated with the auditory organ and the central nervous system. Most often this affects the youngest children – those who attend nurseries and kindergartens.
How to recognize an ear infection in yourself or your child? How to treat them? Is there an alternative home therapy that will be equally effective? Let’s find out in this article.
Ear infections are much more common in children than in adults. This is due to the immaturity of the immune system, more frequent upper respiratory tract infections, contact with other babies, and anatomical factors that make it easier for bacteria from the throat to enter the ear. These microorganisms are the main causes of acute otitis media.
The symptoms of otitis media can be different, and if one of them is found, then it is necessary to use the services of an ENT, and not to self-medicate. The type of disease that appears depends on many factors, such as etiology, age, and anatomical predisposition.
First of all, pain is common in children. You may experience a pulsating sensation in the ear or surrounding area (temples and mastoid, part of the temporal bone).
When is soreness usually present? At night or during rest, that is, when the recumbent position is taken. Older children with otitis media can independently report concomitant ailments, while babies will simply cry in pain.
In adults, throbbing pain is also common. Most children with inflammation in the middle ear also have a fever, the temperature is usually quite high, most often it exceeds 38-39 degrees Celsius.
Crying babies may seem hot – but this is not the main symptom of otitis media. It is worth reassuring the baby and only then taking measurements.
- noise, pulsation – common symptoms resulting from inflamed vascular changes in the ear;
- a sick child, of course, will not sleep well at night, and during the day he can be very agitated, irritated and tired;
- lack of appetite is another alarming symptom, completely vague when it comes to otitis media, but it should always cause the parents to be wary;
- vomiting in a baby is a frequent signal of problems in the middle of the organ of hearing;
- rubbing the ear is often aimed at reducing discomfort, so children with inflammation will be overly active in this area;
- hearing loss, feeling of blockage, foreign body and fullness are symptoms affecting both young and elderly patients;
- discharge from the ears.
Frequent pain relief after cleansing is a characteristic feature. The discharge disappears, and the drop in pressure in the middle cavity brings relief from pain. It is also worth looking into whether you have had an upper respiratory or throat infection recently. The most common way of spreading causative agents for acute otitis media is the Eustachian tube, which connects the throat to the center of the ear.
Sometimes the disease can be accompanied by skin rashes covering the auricle: vesicles, spots, purulent lesions. If we notice the secretion of a secretion from the ear canal for a long time, but there are no signs of pain after that, then such inflammation, unfortunately, can become chronic.
An ENT or general practitioner, looking into the ear with a special viewing glass – an otoscope, will notice typical signs of inflammation, that is, dilated vessels that give the impression of redness of the eardrum.
Most often, this picture indicates the initial stage of infection. In the advanced phase, the membrane will be clearly convex due to the pressure of secretions from its inner side. You can see a crack inside or a leak of purulent contents – this, unfortunately, indicates an advanced stage.
The first question is: is it worth using any therapy at all, and if so, when should we do it? Otitis media often goes away on its own and there is no need to start antibiotic therapy.
However, we can use other medicines that act symptomatically to reduce the accompanying inflammation. The so-called “vigilant observation” technique is currently in use. The disease should resolve without treatment within 1 to 2 days of the onset of symptoms.
Relief of symptoms
This is definitely the most commonly used treatment. We refuse antibiotic therapy and fight fever, pain, using two main substances – ibuprofen and paracetamol in oral form.
Treatment depends, of course, on the etiology. Antibiotic therapy will become the basis of bacterial infection. For acute otitis media, the common pathogens are Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae – therefore we treat empirically, assuming that each patient’s illness is caused by one of these bacteria.
In the medical environment, amoxicillin is a popular drug that is administered in high doses. Alternatively, amoxicillin in combination with clavulanic acid or clarithromycin in intravenous or intramuscular form may be used in the absence of improvement or hypersensitivity to penicillin drugs.
Antibiotic therapy will be included in the severe course of the disease, high fever and vomiting in all children who have factors predisposing to the development of the disease and its frequent relapses: in children under 6 months of age due to the immaturity of the immune system and inability to cope with the infection on their own, in children under 2 years of age with inflammation in both ears.
Complex carbohydrates, hot liquids, vegetables and soups prepared with these products are an ally in the fight against pathological conditions of the hearing organs. Also allowed are substances with antibacterial activity, natural antibiotics: garlic, onions, ginger. It is important to drink plenty of water to facilitate the outflow of pathogen colonies that colonize the mouth or throat.
To make them, two things are needed: an anesthetic substance, which simultaneously destroys the etiological factor, and a thin scarf, gauze, to wrap him / her and attach to the patient’s ear.
Organic ingredients will also help with this: chamomile, ginger, onion or garlic. Onions, ginger and garlic should be peeled and then chopped. Then wrap the ingredient in gauze or a thin scarf, heat it to a temperature of about 37 degrees Celsius and then place it on the auricle. It is worth putting on a cap on your head, which increases the surface of the compress. It should remain on the body for about an hour. Instead of onions or garlic, cheesecloth can be filled with dried chamomile. However, such a compress must be placed in a closed vessel over a water bath to warm it up significantly and make it moist. This composition should be kept in the ear area for about 45 minutes – 1 hour.
It can be prepared with oil, with or without added antibacterial agents (ginger, garlic). The result is a consistency that will allow you to deliver a few drops to the patient’s ear. It is best to warm up the medicine before serving. However, it is important to check the temperature of the solution on the back of the hand before use.
Another way is to use a cotton swab soaked in the compound, which should be placed in your ear. Tea tree oil is also known for its excellent properties when applied directly to the ear or onto a cotton pad.
In a mortar, we can grind cloves of garlic or onions, squeeze the pulp through cheesecloth, and then apply a few drops of juice to the ear with inflammation.
In all forms, it is an ally of otitis media. It is necessary to heat compresses from the above substances or ordinary scarves soaked in warm water, put on hats, wrap your neck up to the line of the ears.
It is important to remember that it is strictly prohibited:
- 1Blow your nose with all your might – this way you can cause the penetration of pathogens into the middle ear.
- 2Using a stick to clean the ear outside of the outer part of the ear can not only transfer bacteria there, but also create the risk of a wax ear plug.
The symptoms of otitis media are worth knowing, since most of them are not considered symptoms of a disease that can lead to serious complications. Everyone should be mindful of the technique of vigilant observation, without risking self-medication in children under 6 months of age.