In otitis media, pathogens such as fungi and bacteria affect the middle ear through the Eustachian tube. In general, the condition can last up to six weeks, with more severe cases leading to hearing issues (especially among young children). Common symptoms of otitis media include intense ear pain, fever, headache, nausea, leaking fluid from the ear, sense of fullness in the ear, buzzing, and irritability (Donaldson, 2017). During the physical exam, the otitis media is seen in the signs of inflammation in the tympanic membrane, bulging in the posterior quadrants of the tympanic membrane, the presence of thick oozing, and pain without or with the pulsation of the otorrhea (Donaldson, 2017).
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Otitis externa, on the other hand, maybe caused by either infections or other factors. Swimming in contaminated water is one of the most widespread reasons for contracting the condition. Common symptoms of otitis externa include the itchy air canal, ear pain that gets worse from pulling on the ear lobe, fever, ear canal inflammation, temporary diminished hearing, and release of fluid from the ear. During the physical examination, the condition manifests through the discharge from the ear, which is initially clear, subsequently becoming foul-smelling (Waltzman, 2017).
Since young children are more prone to developing otitis (Qureishi, Lee, Belfield, Birchall, & Daniel, 2014), the differences in screening lie in the higher frequency of check-ups to make sure that otitis has been treated effectively. When assessing children, health history questions may include: “Does the child attend daycare?” “How many prior ear infections were treated?” “How old was the child when the first case of infection occurred?” “Was the child taking antibiotics?” When assessing adults, the following questions can be asked: “Do you have a history of ear diseases?” “Have you recently performed any activities that could have affected your ears?”
Donaldson, J. (2017). Acute otitis media. Web.
Qureishi, A., Lee, Y., Belfield, K., Birchall, J., & Daniel, M. (2014). Update on otitis media – prevention and treatment. Infection and Drug Resistance, 7, 15-24.
Waltzman, A. (2017). Otitis externa. Web.