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Acute Middle Ear Infection

What is Acute Middle Ear Infection?

Acute middle ear infection is an inflammation and/or infection of the middle ear. Acute middle ear infection refers to a short and severe episode. A persistent or recurrent middle ear infection is called chronic middle ear infection.

Acute middle ear infection is also called: acute suppurative otitis, inner ear infection, acute otitis media, middle ear infection.

What Causes Acute Middle Ear Infection?

Acute middle ear infection is most common in children. It is caused by a bacterial or viral infection of the fluid of the middle ear. When infection occurs in the middle ear, pus or excess fluid is produced.

Ear infections are often associated with respiratory infections or with blocked sinuses caused by allergies or enlarged adenoids.

Symptoms of Acute Middle Ear Infection

  • Bleeding in the middle ear
  • Inflammation of the ear
  • Ear pain
  • Pressure in the ear
  • In children, pulling at the ear, inconsolable crying
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Hearing loss in the affected ear
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Irritability
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Emergency Symptoms

If you experience the symptoms below, contact your doctor immediately.

  • Persistent fever
  • Revere headache
  • Persistent earache
  • Swelling around the ear
  • Twitching of the face muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Severe ear pain that suddenly stops hurting

Complications of Acute Middle Ear Infection

If acute middle ear infection is not treated properly, complications may occur. The most common complications are:

Risk factors of developing Acute Middle Ear Infection

Risk factors include the following:

  • Crowded or unsanitary living conditions
  • High altitude
  • Cold climate
  • Bottle feeding of infants (can allow fluid to pool in the throat near the eustachian tube)

Can Acute Middle Ear Infection be Treated?

Yes. The goal of treatment is cure of the infection. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the infection is caused by bacteria.

Nasal sprays, nose drops, oral decongestants may be used to promote drainage of fluid through the eustachian tube. Ear drops may be prescribed to relieve pain.

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