About Otitis Media

 

You are here

About Otitis Media

Many Indigenous children, and almost all Indigenous children living in remote communities, have middle ear infection, glue ear or runny ears (otitis media, OM). Children with OM cannot hear properly and have trouble with speech, language, learning and behaviour.

What causes runny ears?

The germs called pneumococcus (pneumo) and non-typable H. influenzae (NTHi or H’flu) get into the baby’s nose from other children. These germs can then get inside the middle ear and cause infection and pus – like a boil – which can burst the ear drum. Unlike a boil under the skin which can heal, the eardrum can take a long time to heal and must be treated.  Germs in the nose also go inside the chest to cause pneumonia.

What can put a stop to glue ear and runny ears?

1. Stop the spread of germs from little kids noses and hands to babies. Lots of hand and face washing (and drying) for little kids.

2. Antibiotic medicine can stop some infections, but long courses are needed.

3. Vaccines. Pneumococcal vaccine stops infections by strains in the vaccine,  but there are many more germs that still cause infections.

For researchers

Otitis Media (OM), sometimes known as glue ear or runny ears…

For health practitioners

Otitis Media (OM), sometimes known as glue ear or runny ears…

For families and communities

Many Indigenous children, and almost all Indigenous children living in remote communities...