It has been suggested that otitis media is an unavoidable illness of childhood. In most cases, symptomatic treatment is all that is required, however, in severe cases, complications can occur, such as perforation of the tympanic membrane, otitis externa, mastoiditis and disturbances to balance, motor control and hearing. Children living in lower decile communities, where overcrowding is common, are at increased risk of developing otitis media and complications.
Thank you to Dr Tony Walls, Paediatric Infectious Diseases Consultant, Canterbury DHB, Department of
Paediatrics, University of Otago, Christchurch, Dr Emma Best, Paediatric Infectious Diseases Consultant,
Starship Children's Health, Auckland and Dr Andrea Sievwright, General Practitioner, South Seas Healthcare
Trust, Auckland for expert guidance in developing this article.