How to treat earache fast. Acute Otitis Media treatment and symptoms. Peak Pharmacy | Pharmacy First
This is an NHS-funded service available for children aged 1-17 years.

What is Acute Otitis Media (Earache)?

Acute Otitis Media is an infection of the middle ear that causes inflammation (redness and swelling) and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum.

Anyone can develop a middle ear infection but infants between six and 15 months old are most commonly affected, with one in four children having at least one middle ear infection by the time they are ten years old.

Most ear infections clear up within three to five days without treatment. Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used if you or your child are in pain or have a high temperature.

What are the symptoms of Earache (Acute Otitis Media)?

Common symptoms of middle ear infections are:

  • Earache
  • High temperature (fever)
  • Lack of energy
  • Vomiting
  • Slight hearing loss

Younger children are less able to communicate what is wrong with them. Signs that could suggest an ear infection include:

  • Pulling, tugging or rubbing their ear
  • Irritability, poor feeding or restlessness at night
  • Coughing or a runny nose
  • Raised temperature
  • Unresponsive to quiet sounds
  • Loss of balance.

Antibiotics aren’t usually needed unless your child’s symptoms persist or are particularly severe.

When should I seek help?

In most cases, Acute Otitis Media will resolve in a few days.

You should seek further assistance if you or your child have:

  • Symptoms that are not improving after two or three days
  • A lot of pain
  • Pus or fluid coming from the ear

How can Peak Pharmacy help?

Our Pharmacists can help children aged from one to 17 years with moderate to severe earache symptoms that are not eased by pain relief.

They will use an otoscope to look into your child’s ears for signs of infection, such as bulging of the tympanic membrane.

They will ask you about your child’s medical history and other symptoms to exclude more serious conditions that need urgent referral to your GP or other sources of help.

If treatment with ear drops or antibiotics is considered to be needed, our Pharmacists can provide this.