Middle Ear

Acute Middle Ear Infection

What Causes Acute Middle Ear Infections (Acute Otitis Media= AOM)?

AOM happens when infection spreads up the small tubes that connect the middle ear to the back of the nose (Eustachian Tubes – ET’s)

  • the tubes swell shut
  • infection builds in the middle ear behind the ear drum
  • the ear drum bulges out, it becomes red and pain increases

How Can I Tell If My Child Has AOM?

  • they may develop a high temperature
  • they may cry or grizzle more than usual
  • you may notice that they keep tugging their ear
  • older children may tell you that their ear is sore
  • you may notice discharge from the ear, sometimes called a runny or leaking ear

Take Action

  • your child’s ear can need be assessed by an Ear Nurse or doctor
  • antibiotics are not always needed
  • go back and see your doctor again if your child is not getting better
  • if the infection bursts through the ear drum, the discharge can be cleaned from the ear canal using micro-suction
  • use pain relief to keep the child as comfortable as possible

For prevention and treatment see our page on Middle Ear Trouble


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