Otitis: what are the effective treatments?

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Otitis: what are the effective treatments?

Otitis, kezako? First thing to know: an otitis (or "acute otitis media"in medical language) is an infection of the middle ear - it is a small bone cavity located just behind the eardrum."Otitis is quite common in children, explains Dr. Caroline Thevenet, pharmacist. In adults, it is often consecutive to swimming in the pool, nasopharyngitis or a sinusitis."

How to recognize otitis?

Otitis can have two origins: either it is caused by a bacterium (haemophilus influenzae, pneumococcus ... in 60% to 70% of cases), or it is caused by a virus (respiratory syncytial virus, para-influenzae virus, rhinovirus ...).

Only one medical exam to determine the cause of otitis: if the eardrum is red without effusion of fluid, it is an acute congestive otitis media of viral origin. If the eardrum is congested and bulging with an effusion of pus, it is an acute purulent otitis media of bacterial origin.

"Only the general practitioner and the ENT doctor are able to carry out this examination: the pharmacists are not equipped", says Dr. Thevenet.

The symptoms of otitis are easily identifiable:

  • Ear pain (called "ear pain") which can be intense,
  • Fever over 38 ° C,
  • Rarer: a yellow discharge through the ear canal ("otorrhea"),
  • In young children: irritability, refusal of bottle feeding, lack of energy, screams and unexplained crying, the child touches his ear ...

In children, certain factors favor the appearance of otitis: the life in community (in nursery, especially), a premature birth, a history of recurrent otitis in the close family (one speaks about "genetic predisposition"), important gastro-oesophageal reflux ... The season also plays a role since otitis is more common in autumn and winter.

How is an otitis treated?

"In case of bacterial otitis, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics on prescription, either orally (tablets) or by local route (drops to put in the ear), explains Dr. Thevenet. If the otitis is of viral origin, the antibiotics - which kill the bacteria - are useless: the doctor will rather prescribe anti-inflammatory drops composed of a local anesthetic (lidocaine) to soothe the pain. He may also prescribe paracetamol in case of earache."

In the absence of a medical examination, the pharmacist can only offer paracetamol for pain. "Without medical advice, it is better to avoid self-medication and especially oral anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, aspirin ...) that can promote superinfection of the area."

Thehomeopathy can be called to the rescue: "to calm inflammation and pain, I recommend Belladonna 9 CH, 5 granules 3 to 4 times a day. If the pain is really intense (waiting to see the doctor), Chamomilla vulgaris 15 CH, 5 granules 3 to 4 times a day. Finally, if we find a moderate fever, Ferrum phosphoricum 9 CH, 5 granules 3 to 4 times a day."

Good to know : in case of otitis, a visit to the doctor (or the pediatrician) is required. However, it is necessary to consult urgently if the patient is less than 3 months old, if the fever reaches 40 ° C and / or if other symptoms appear (purplish spots on the skin, vomiting, headaches, respiratory discomfort, diarrhea ...).

Thanks to Dr. Caroline Thevenet, Doctor of Pharmacy.

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