What is it?
Otitis media is an infection of the air-filled space behind the eardrum (the middle ear).It is usually caused by bacteria or viruses.
What are the symptoms?
Symptom usually develop quickly and include: * pain inside the ear * a high temperature of 38C or above * being sick * a lack of energy * difficulty hearing * discharge running out of the ear * feeling of pressure or fullness inside the ear * itching and irritation in and around the ear * scaly skin in and around the earfits of fussiness and intense crying (in infants) * clutching the ear while wincing in pain (in toddlers) * complaining about a pain in the ear (in older children)
- place a warm or cold flannel on the ear
- remove any discharge by wiping the ear with cotton wool
- make sure your child is up to date with vaccinations
- keep your child away from smoky environments
- do not put anything inside your ear to remove earwax, such as cotton buds or your finger
- avoid letting water or shampoo get in your ear
- avoid using decongestants or antihistamines – there’s no evidence they help with ear infections
- try not to give your child a dummy after they’re 6 months old
Things to watch out for
contact your GP if you have these symptoms