ACUTE MIDDLE EAR INFECTION (Acute otitis media)
Symptoms: Comes on suddenly, Severe throbbing pain, which can become stabbing, Fever, temporary hearing loss, vomiting and pulling at the ears, is a common sign in babies and young children.
Causes: Complication of a cold or other upper respiratory infection.
Treatment in the home: Take aspirin or paracetamol to ease pain and reduce fever. Do not give aspirin to children under the age of 12.
Possible complications: If not treated, the eardrum may burst or chronic middle ear infection may develop, with further hearing loss and pain.
When to call to call a doctor: As soon as infection of the middle ear is suspected.
What the doctor may do: Prescribe a course of antibiotics to clear up bacterial infection. Prescribe a decongestant to help reduce swelling of the Eustachian tube. Prescribe a painkiller if pain is severe. Treat any underlying infections. Re-examine the patient at a later date to ensure that hearing has returned to normal.