Acute Otitis Media — Paediatrics
Acute otitis media is an infection of the ear, specifically of the middle ear, which is the portion located just after the eardrum. It is very common; most children will have at least one episode in the first few years of life.
Usually the child begins with a cold, with abundant mucus, and after a few days begins to complain of earache. It is typical that this pain manifests more at night and when they are lying down. A fever is not always present.
We suspect this illness due to the medical history (the symptoms that the patient tells us if they are old enough to do so, or that the parents tell us) and we confirm it after examining the ear with an otoscope.
Although it surprises many people, the majority of cases of otitis are cured spontaneously in 48-72h. The paediatrician will decide, according to the patient's age, symptoms and the examination, what treatment the child needs.
Painkillers and/or anti-inflammatories (paracetamol and ibuprofen) on a prescription with subsequent follow-up may be enough. On certain occasions, on the other hand, the use of oral antibiotics is necessary.
Warning signs for which we must consult
- Suppuration from the ear (in this case it is suppurative otitis media and it requires antibiotic treatment).
- The child is irritable or sleepy, with a poor general condition, or vomits several times.
- The pinna is being pushed forward, with redness and inflammation of the posterior area.
- The symptoms do not improve after 48h of treatment.