Middle Ear Infection Outline

Acute Otitis Media, Acute Suppurative Otitis Media

Most common—3 to 10 years old


  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Hearing loss

Most commonly the child will have a history of fluid in the ear and develop an acute infection. The bacteria (the germs that cause infection) grow rapidly in the fluid and an infection can appear over a few hours.


  • Ear drum—Red, bulging (full)
  • Clear, yellow or greenish drainage (purulent), may also have some blood present
  • Immobile ear drum
  • Sick looking child (toxic)

Usually these children will look very sick and complain of ear pain. If the drum ruptures there is usually relief from the pain.


  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Type B or C tympanogram


  • Decongestants
  • Antibiotics
  • Pain medication
  • Heating pad

It usually takes a few days for the pain to improve and the child should take the full course of antibiotics. Once the infection clears up the children will have fluid which will then slowly clear over the next 2 to 12 weeks.

All children with this problem need to be seen by their doctor.

Try and clear up fluid in the ear so that the infection does not get started. Also try to minimize exposure to upper respiratory tract infections.