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General Practice 2023

Otitis média: what é, symptoms, types, causes and treatment

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Otitis média: what é, symptoms, types, causes and treatment
Otitis média: what é, symptoms, types, causes and treatment

Otitis media consists of inflammation of the ear that can occur due to the presence of viruses or bacteria or be a consequence of trauma or allergies, for example, occurring more frequently in children.

Due to inflammation in the ear, it is possible that symptoms such as ear pain, presence of yellow or white discharge in the ear canal, fever and irritability may be noticed.

In the presence of signs and symptoms indicative of otitis, it is important that the child is evaluated by the pediatrician, so that an evaluation can be carried out and the most appropriate treatment started, which can be done with medication to relieve the symptoms. symptoms or antibiotic, when there is a sign of infection.


Otitis media symptoms

Otitis media symptoms usually appear after a cold or sinus crisis, as a result of 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, with the presence of pus being noted;

In the case of the baby, it can be suspected that he has otitis when the baby puts his hand to his ear many times, gets more irritated, cries a lot and has difficulty sleeping, for example, and it is important that the pediatrician is consulted.

The diagnosis is made by evaluating the signs and symptoms present and performing a physical examination, which consists of observing the ear with a device called an otoscope. Thus, it is possible to observe any alteration in the ear and be indicated the most appropriate treatment to fight inflammation and promote the relief of symptoms.

Types of otitis media

Otitis media can also be divided into different types according to the signs and symptoms present, duration of symptoms and how often they happen:

  • Acute otitis media: this is the most common form, with rapid onset of signs and symptoms, such as earache and fever, caused by acute middle ear infection;
  • Recurrent acute otitis media: is acute otitis media that recurs for more than 3 episodes in 6 months or 4 episodes in 12 months, usually due to the same microorganism that returns to proliferate or for new infections;
  • Serous otitis media: also called otitis media with effusion, it 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: 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 makes a clinical evaluation, with physical examination, observation of the ear with an otoscope, in addition to evaluating the signs and symptoms.

Learn more about the main types of otitis.

Main causes

Otitis media usually occurs as a result of a flu, cold or sinus crisis and is therefore 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 alterations of the ear, but these causes are rarer.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for otitis media may vary depending on the symptoms and cause. Usually, the doctor indicates 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, the 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 usually used when the symptoms persist even after treatment with other treatments is started medications, if there are changes in the tympanic membrane examination, if the eardrum is perforated, or if the 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 care options

During the treatment indicated by the doctor, and never replacing it, some measures can be done at home to accelerate recovery and relieve symptoms, such as:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, staying hydrated throughout the day;
  • Staying rest, avoiding exercise or strenuous activities;
  • Eat a he althy and balanced diet, with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, vegetables, grains and seeds, as they are rich in omega-3 and other nutrients that help to better recovery from inflammation;
  • Making a warm compress on the outside of the ear 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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