Ear infection (Otitis media in children) often occur in young children. About 75% of children have a one-time ear infection by the age of three.
So let’s find out what is an ear infection? What causes it? What are its complications? And what is the treatment ?.
What is Otitis media in children?
Otitis media is an infection of the area behind the eardrum in which water accumulates behind the eardrum due to infection and that water puts pressure on the eardrum. This causes ear pain.
Otitis media in children can be caused by a cold, a cough, or a sudden climate change.
What are the types of Otitis media in children?
There are three types of otitis media in children.
Acute otitis media
When ear infections occur in a short time. This is called as acute otitis media. It has swelling on the eardrum and redness is present. The baby develops a fever due to the accumulation of water behind the eardrum. Pain in ear is also there. It can also cause deafness.
Otitis media with effusion
As the ear infection subsides, water builds up behind the eardrum. So the ears feel full. It can also cause deafness. This is also called glue ear.
Chronic otitis media
Ear infections are completely cured. Also, the water behind the eardrum is more or less frequent. This can also cause deafness in the baby.
What causes Otitis media in children?
The middle part of the ear is usually connected to the nose by an eustachian tube. The eustachian tube is used to control the pressure in the ear and to release the accumulated water from the ear into the nose.
If the child has a cold, the nose becomes swollen. The eustachian tube is also swollen. So the water in the ear does not go to the nose and there is an infection caused by a virus or bacteria.
Ear infections are more common in young children than in older men because the eustachian tube in small children is small and horizontal. As a result, bacteria can easily enter the ear and cause ear infections.
- Immunity is also low in young children. As a result, they are more prone to ear infections.
- Someone at home may have frequent ear infections.
- Someone may be smoking in the house.
- Bottle-fed babies as well as sleeping bottle-fed babies can also cause ear infections.
What are the symptoms of Otitis media in children?
Symptoms of otitis media in older people include earache, watery ears, and deafness.
The symptoms of otitis media vary from child to child.
- Earache (Pain in ear) while sleeping.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Crying too much
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty in hearing.
- Loss of appetite.
In children, these symptoms are accompanied by cold, cough, and sore throat.
How Otitis media is diagnosed?
Doctors diagnose otitis media based on the child’s symptoms. The following tests are also performed to confirm the diagnosis.
- Otoscopy – Doctors use otoscopy to examine the ears of young children. Ear redness, swelling, blood, accumulated water in the ear, eardrum are examined.
- Tympanometry – This test measures the pressure in the baby’s ear.
- Reflectometry – This test uses an instrument that makes a sound near the baby’s ear so that if water has accumulated in the baby’s ear, the sound can be heard again. This leads to a diagnosis of otitis media.
- Hearing Test – This test is done to check if the baby is deaf.
What is the treatment for Otitis media in children?
Otitis media in children is an infection that can be cured without the use of antibiotics. So often doctors prescribe medication to stop the pain. This avoids the overuse of antibiotics and the side effects they cause.
To reduce pain in ear, a drop is given to the ear or medicine is given. If this does not stop the baby’s ear pain, the doctor will give the baby antibiotics. This helps reduce ear infections.
Even if wet handkerchief applied to the ear, the baby’s ear pain will be decreased.
If the water in the ear does not decrease in three months, the doctor may advice an operation on the eardrum. In this operation, the eardrum is perforated and the water in it is drained and the pressure in the ear is also reduced. A small tube is placed in the perforated area so that water does not accumulate in the ear and the pressure in the ear is controlled. This operation is called a myringotomy.
After decrease in the pressure from the ear, the baby can hear clearly and the tube inserted in the hole in the screen automatically fall off in six to twelve months.
In some children, the eustachian tube closes due to frequent swelling and infection of the adenoids in the nose. As a result, such children often suffer from otitis media. Removal of these adenoids in such children reduces the risk of recurrent otitis media. The operation to remove adenoids is called adenoidectomy.
The above operation is performed by an ENT Specialist.
Frequently Asked Questions
What problems otitis media can cause?
Otitis media is often treated with medication but in some children it is more frequent. The following types of problems can occur in such children.
* Infection of the brain. This is called meningitis.
* Infection of the bone behind the eardrum. This is called mastoiditis.
* Tearing of the eardrum.
* Such children start speaking late because they cannot hear.
What can prevent otitis media infection?
Ear infections in young children can be prevented if certain things are followed properly.
* Children’s hands are washed frequently with soap.
* Avoiding crowded places.
* Breastfeeding babies have a lower incidence of ear infections.
* Regular vaccination of children.
* Avoiding smoking in the house.
Which bacteria is the most common cause of otitis media infection?
Infection with otitis media is usually caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenza
What consequence happen if otitis media is not treated?
If otitis media is not treated, permanent deafness can occur. Also, your child’s hearing may be impaired and he may have difficulty in speaking and understanding the language
How water behind the eardrum is reduced?
The water behind the eardrum is absorbed in a few days but if it is not absorbed in 3 months, the doctor may recommend an operation.