Otitis media is a group of inflammatory diseases of the middle ear. An ear infection (acute otitis media) is most often a bacterial or viral infection that affects 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. An integral symptom of acute otitis media is ear pain; other possible symptoms include fever, and irritability (in infants). Since an episode of otitis media is usually precipitated by an upper respiratory tract infection (URI), there often are accompanying symptoms like cough and nasal discharge.
The most important factor in middle ear disease is eustachian tube (ET) dysfunction (ETD), in which the mucosa at the pharyngeal end of the ET is part of the mucociliary system of the middle ear. Interference with this mucosa by edema, tumor, or negative intratympanic pressure facilitates direct extension of infectious processes from the nasopharynx to the middle ear, causing OM. Esophageal contents regurgitated into the nasopharynx and middle ear through the ET can create a direct mechanical disturbance of the middle ear mucosa and cause middle ear inflammation.
In Poland the highest incidence of OMA was among the children of 3-6 years of age (41.48%). In the youngest children, under three years of age, the occurrence of 1 otitis media per year prevailed, with statistical significance. In children under 6 years of age, the frequency of acute otitis media occurrence was higher, with statistical significance (65.53%, p=0.003). Most middle ear infections (otitis media) will clear up within three days and don't need any specific treatment. You can relieve any pain and a high temperature using over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. However, aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age. Placing a warm flannel or washcloth over the affected ear may also help relieve pain until the condition passes.