Acute otitis media

Acute Otitis Media (AOM), commonly known as earache, is a prevalent condition affecting the middle ear, particularly in children. It is characterised by inflammation and infection, leading to symptoms like ear pain and hearing loss.

Acute Otitis Media is an infection of the middle ear space, often accompanied by fluid buildup behind the eardrum. It can result from bacteria or viruses, typically following a cold or upper respiratory infection. AOM is most common in children aged 6 months to 2 years but can occur in adults as well.

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    • Symptoms of Acute Otitis Media

      Key symptoms include:

      • Ear pain or discomfort
      • Hearing loss or muffled hearing
      • Fluid drainage from the ear
      • Fever and irritability (especially in children)
      • Fullness or pressure in the ear
      • Causes and Risk Factors

      Factors contributing to AOM include:

      • Bacterial or viral infections
      • Eustachian tube dysfunction, which can be affected by allergies or respiratory infections
      • Exposure to tobacco smoke or air pollution
      • History of recurrent ear infections
    • Diagnosis and Treatment Options

      Diagnosis typically involves a medical examination and, in some cases, hearing tests or tympanometry. Treatment options include:

      Antibiotics: Prescribed for bacterial infections to clear the infection and prevent complications.
      Pain Relief: Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can alleviate ear pain.

      Ear Drops: May be used to soothe pain and reduce inflammation.
      Fluid Management: In some cases, a procedure to drain fluid from the middle ear may be necessary.

    • Prevention Tips

      To reduce the risk of Acute Otitis Media:

      • Practise good hygiene to prevent the spread of respiratory infections.
      • Avoid exposure to tobacco smoke and pollutants.
      • Manage allergies to reduce Eustachian tube dysfunction.
      • Keep vaccinations up to date to protect against common viruses and bacteria.


      When to Seek Medical Attention

      If ear pain persists for more than a few days, is accompanied by a high fever, or if you notice significant hearing loss, it’s important to seek medical attention.

    • Pharmacy First Service for Earache

      The Pharmacy First service enables you to receive expert advice and treatment for earache without needing a GP appointment. At My Pharmacy, our expert pharmacists can assess your symptoms, recommend appropriate treatments, and provide guidance on managing ear pain and infection effectively.