Otitis media is a middle ear infection caused by a buildup of fluids. It is usually associated with colds or bacterial infections, but can also be the result of allergies. When the immune system encounters a substance it believes to be a threat, it produces antibodies called histamines to attack the invader. These chemicals cause swelling and inflammation of the eustachian tube, trapping germs in the middle ear and leading to infection.
The most common symptom of otitis media is ear pain. This varies in intensity from mild to severe. Other signs include drainage from the ear, temporary loss of hearing, fever, irritability, lack of appetite, trouble sleeping, nausea or vomiting, fullness in the ear and tinnitus. Symptoms may be triggered by pollen, mold, dust mites, pet dander, foods, chemicals and certain medications.
Home remedies are often effective in treating the symptoms of otitis media. Non-prescription pain relievers, eardrops, and a warm compress can often bring relief. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids to keep hydrated. If you can, avoid the allergen responsible. Chronic ear infections resulting from allergies that do not respond to medical treatment may be managed with immunotherapy.