Otitis Media

Overview of Otitis Media

Otitis media is the medical term for inflammation of the middle ear and eardrum. The inflammation is usually caused by a bacterial infection. The bacterial infection of the middle ear can occur following a viral upper respiratory infection or following a flare of allergies. Young children are more at risk for acute otitis media due to their small ear structures. 

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected ear.
  • Fever.
  • Decreased hearing or ringing in the ear.
  • Throat pain on the same side as the ear pain.
  • Dizziness and nausea can sometimes occur.
  • Tenderness behind the ear.
  • Swollen and tender glands in front of and/or behind the ear. 


  • If you have cold symptoms or allergies be sure to drink plenty of liquids to keep your mucous thin and easy to drain.
  • Humidification of the air you breathe when you have a cold or allergies may keep the mucous thin and easy to drain as well.
  • An over the counter decongestant like pseudoephedrine may help decrease secretions, keep the eustachian tube open and relieve the pressure of accumulating secretions. 


  • Antibiotic medications are used to treat the bacterial infection.
  • Your health care provider will determine the right antibiotic for you. 

How We Can Help

  • If you would like to be seen by our medical staff, please contact our Appointment Desk to schedule an appointment.
  • Also, our Advice Nurse service is available at no charge for all UC Davis students to discuss health concerns and the need for medical care.