HOW TO TREAT AN EARACHE AND OTITIS
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).
Antibiotics FOR OTITIS MEDIA
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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