Otitis Media With Effusion Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Otitis Media With Effusion?
Otitis Media with Effusion (OME) is a middle ear infection that affects millions of children each year. This disorder occurs when fluid builds up in the middle ear without signs or symptoms of an active infection. While many cases resolve on their own, OME can cause hearing loss if left untreated, which can have serious long-term impacts on speech and language development. OME is most common in young children between 6 months and 3 years old who are in daycare or have siblings, as these environments increase a child’s exposure to bacteria and viruses that can cause the condition. Children are more likely to develop OME if they suffer from allergies, smoke exposure or respiratory infections such as colds or the flu. Symptoms of OME include temporary sharp pain behind one or both ears, muffled hearing and occasional drainage from the affected ear(s). Diagnosis is typically made through an examination of the ear with a lighted instrument known as an otoscope and sometimes involves imaging tests like CT scans or MRIs. Treatment for OME usually consists of watchful waiting; however antibiotics may be prescribed if there are signs of an active infection present. In severe cases where hearing loss persists despite treatment, a tube may be surgically inserted into the eardrum to drain out excess fluid and restore normal hearing function. Surgery carries risks and should only be considered after other treatment options have been exhausted. OMG prevention methods include avoiding smoking around children, practicing good hand hygiene habits such as frequent hand washing and avoiding large gatherings during cold and flu season to limit exposure to bacteria and viruses that can cause OME.