Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Otitis Media With
What is otitis media with effusion?
Otitis media with effusion means that there is
fluid in the middle (inner) ear and that the inner ear is inflamed (swollen).
(Effusion is another word for fluid.) This fluid usually doesn't bother
children. It almost always goes away on its own. So, this kind of ear problem
doesn't have to be treated with antibiotics, unless the fluid doesn't go away.
What causes otitis media with
Fluid may build up in the middle ear for 2
reasons. First, when a child has a cold, the middle ear may produce fluid just
like the nose does, but the fluid doesn't drain out of the middle ear as easily
as it does from the nose. Second, children who have a "regular" ear infection
could have otitis media with effusion the next time, if the fluid stays in the
middle ear for a long time.
How is otitis media with effusion
The best treatment is to let the fluid go away
Are antibiotics ever needed for an
ear infection with fluid?
Yes. If the fluid is still there after a few
months and is causing hearing loss or problems in both ears, antibiotics may
help some children. For this reason, your child's ears should be checked a few
months after an ear infection. If the fluid is still there, a hearing test may
be the next step.
Why not just try antibiotics right
Giving your child unnecessary antibiotics can be
harmful. After each course of antibiotics, the germs in the nose and throat are
more likely to become resistant. Resistant germs can't be killed by the usual
antibiotics. More expensive and powerful antibiotics have to be used. Some of
these antibiotics must be given in the hospital and their side effects can be
very unpleasant or even dangerous. Since fluid in the ears doesn't usually
bother children, it's better to wait and only give antibiotics when they're