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Treatment of otitis media has always been and currently is an area of controversy among doctors. Treatment consists mainly of antibiotics, pain control, tympanocentesis (fluid drainage with a needle) and tympanostomy (tube placement).

Until recently, the recommendation from official organizations has been to prescribe a course of antibiotics lasting up to 10 days (5). During the past few years, it has become evident that in many cases of otitis media, the use of antibiotics has no effect in reducing either severity or duration of the illness. Moreover, doctors have realized that antibiotic use is responsible for development of “super microbes,” or microbes that become resistant to antibiotics. Today, antibiotics are not an acceptable method treatment for most cases of otitis media, or as prevention of AOM (6). Based on carefully reviewed data, the American Academy of Pediatrics has introduced a new set of recommendations, which include limiting use of antibiotics only to severe cases of the AOM form of middle ear infection (7).

Otitis media can produce very severe pain and extreme discomfort, even in adults, but children suffer the worst pain. In many cases, drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be very helpful for earache. Both drugs are considered to be relatively safe, but occasionally they can produce very serious complications, including blood disorders, allergic reactions, stomach ulcers and many more.

Tympanostomy, or insertion of tiny tubes into the eardrum is a surgical procedure requiring risks of general anesthesia. By draining excessive amount of fluid from the middle ear, tympanostomy reduces the pressure and earache associated with middle ear infection Tympanostomy carries certain complications, and therefore is reserved for the treatment of resistant middle ear fluid accumulation as a measure of last resort.

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