Acute otitis media
Acute otitis media (AOM) in an infection of the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear. Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
As ear infections often clear up on their own, treatment may begin with managing pain and monitoring the problem. Some people are prone to have multiple ear infections.This can cause hearing problems and other serious complications.
Infants and children may have one or more of the following symptoms –
• pulling on the ears
• ear pain, especially when lying down
• neck pain
• a feeling of fullness in the ear
• fluid drainage from the ear
• lack of balance
• hearing loss
Common symptoms in adults include-
• ear pain
• drainage of fluid from the ear
• trouble hearing
Role of eustachian tube –
The eustachian tube is the tube that runs from the middle of the ear to the back of the throat. The throat end of the tubes open and close to –
• Regulate air pressure in the middle ear
• Refresh air in the ear
• Drain normal secretions from the middle ear
An acute otitis media occurs when your child’s eustachian tube becomes swollen or blocked and traps fluid in the middle ear.The trapped fluid can become infected.In young children, the eustachian tube is shorter and more horizontal than it is in older children and adults. This makes it more likely to become infected.
The eustachian tube can become swollen or blocked for several reasons-
• a cold
• the flu
• a sinus infection
• infected or enlarged adenoids
• cigarette smoke
• drinking while lying down (in infants)
Role of adenoids –
Adenoids are two small pads of tissues high in the back of the nose.Because adenoids are near the opening of the eustachian tubes, swelling of the adenoids may block the tubes. This can lead to middle ear infection.Swelling and irritation of adenoids is more likely to play a role in ear infections in children because children here relatively larger adenoids compared to adults.
Conditions of the middle ear that may be related to an ear infection or result in similar middle ear problems include-
• Otitis media with effusion
• Chronic otitis media with effusion (fluid build up)
• Chronic suppurative otitis media
Risk factors –
The risk factors for AOM includes-
• being between 6 and 36 months old
• using a pacifier
• group child care
• being bottle feed instead of breastfed (in infants)
• being exposed to high levels of air pollution
• experiencing changes in altitude
• experiencing changes in climate
• being in a cold climate
• having had a recent cold, flu,sinus or ear infection
• cleft palate
• Impaired hearing
• Speech or developmental delays due to impaired hearing
• Spread of infection to the near by tissues
• Tearing of the eardrum
Doctor can usually diagnose an ear infection based in the symptoms you describe and an examination. The doctor will likely to use a lighted instrument (an Otoscope) to look at the ears, throat and nasal passage.
Additional tests that can be performed to confirm the diagnosis-
• Acoustic reflectometry
The majority of Acute Otitis media (AOM) infections resolve without antibiotic treatment.Home treatment and pain medications are usually recommended before antibiotics are tried to avoid the overuse of antibiotics and reduce the risk of adverse reactions from antibiotics.Treatments for AOM include-
• Applying a warm, moist wash cloth over the infected ear
• Using over-the- counter (OTC)ear drops for pain relief
• taking OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen
Antibiotics may be prescribed if bacteria are thought to be the cause of the ear infection.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if your child’s infection doesn’t respond to treatment as if your child has recurrent car infections. Surgery options for AOM include-
• Adenoid removal
• Insertion of tiny tubes in child’s ear
Ayurvedic Perspective –
In Ayurveda texts Acute Otitis Media (AOM) is explained under Karanpaka & Karansrava.Ear infections are generally due to imbalances in the kapha.A child with a kapha body type is susceptible to getting ear infections in the spring time or other times when kapha’s congestive qualities are increasing in the environment or when the child is in the kapha time of life ( around 8yrs. old). The risk of ear infections aIso increases if the child is eating a Kapha-aggravating diet (lots of sweets, dairy products ).
Herbs used as ear drops-
• Garlic –
• Onion –
• Holy Basil-
• Neem Oil –
• Sesame Oil-
• Apamargakshara Tail
• Sarivadi Vati
• Bilwa gutika
• Karpuradi TaiI
• Sursadi choorna
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