Otitis media is a a significant problem for families and health care providers alike. A childs pain, hearing loss, and vertigo can be extremely disturbing for an effected family. Physicians are therefore under great pressure to provide treatment.

Nurses are in an ideal position to reinforce family education about the treatment options and etiology of OM. Families can be helped to weigh the risks and benefits of pain control and watchful waiting versus surgical and/or antibiotic therapy. Families need to be reassured that in most cases the symptoms will begin to subside within 24 to 72 hours with or without treatment. They also need to be reminded that their child will very likely experience OM more than once and that unnecessary antibiotic therapy can increase the risk of colonization by antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Nurses can help families identify methods to implement preventative behaviors. We can support healthy choices such as:

Nurses can encourage families to effectively manage the childs discomfort and treatment by:

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