Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Treatments

Oftentimes, middle ear infections will clear up without treatment in a week or two. Symptoms should improve after a couple of days. You can treat pain with warm compresses and over-the-counter pain medication.

When middle ear infection symptoms persist or pain worsens, your physician may prescribe an antibiotic. Be sure to finish any prescriptions for antibiotics as directed.

If middle ear infections become recurrent (more than three infections in six months or four infections in one year) or chronic, your physician may suggest:

  • Antibiotic drops: Drops are applied after fluid has been suctioned from the ear canal.
  • Tympanostomy tubes: Often associated with young children, ear tubes can also be inserted in adult eardrums to prevent the build up of fluid in the middle ear.

Preventing middle ear infections

If you are prone to middle ear infections, there are a few things you can do to avoid getting them in the future:

  • Practice good hygiene, with frequent hand washing
  • Get a flu shot
  • Treat allergies with antihistamines and nasal sprays
  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep mucus secretions thin
  • Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke