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Acute otitis media in infants and children: diagnosis and treatment

Valance Hughes details this common condition, and how it can be managed in primary care

Acute otitis media is one of the most common illnesses to affect infants and children. A large majority of children will experience an ear infection before the age of 5 years. Until recently, antibiotics were prescribe in the majority of cases.1 This article will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of acute otitis media (AOM), otitis media with effusion (OME) and otitis externa (OE). AOM refers to infections of the inner ear, including otitis media with effusion (OME) or ‘glue ear’ and otitis externa (OE), otherwise known as ‘swimmers ear’. AOM is an infection of the middle ear, behind the tympanic membrane, while OE consists of fluid behind the tympanic membrane, without signs of inflammation. OE is inflammation of the external ear canal.3

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