Otitis Media

Otitis Media is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Inflammation of the middle ear
  • Most commonly occurs in children 6–36 mo
  • Rapid onset of local and/or systemic symptoms
  • More than 1/3 of children experience >5 episodes by the age of 7 yr


  • Usually associated with (or as a result of) upper respiratory tract infections
  • Viral:
    • Parainfluenza
    • Respiratory syncytial virus
    • Influenza
    • Adenovirus
    • Rhinovirus
  • Bacterial:
    • Streptococcus pneumoniae
    • Moraxella catarrhalis
    • Haemophilus influenzae
    • Streptococcus pyogenes
    • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • Associated with blockage of eustachian tube
  • Predisposing factors:
    • Deficient mucus, cilia, or antibodies
    • Intubation, especially nasotracheal
    • American Indians, Eskimos
    • Down syndrome
    • Cleft palate
    • Diabetes
    • Vitamin A deficiency
    • HIV
  • Risk factors
    • Family history
    • Daycare
    • Parental smoking
    • Pacifier use
    • Bottle-feeding

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