Otitis externa


Otitis Externa

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Alternative Name: Swimmer's ear.

Inflammation of the external auditory canal.

Otitis externa is very common especially among teenagers and young adults. Otitis externa is occasionally associated with middle ear infection or upper respiratory infections such as colds. Moisture in the ear makes the ear more prone to infection from water-loving bacteria such as pseudomonas. Other bacteria, and rarely, fungi, can also cause infection.

Risk Factors:

    Swimming in polluted water.

  • Scratching the ear or inside the ear.

  • Object stuck in the ear.

  • Narrow ear canal.

Otitis externa usually starts out as a nagging itch, brought on by a softening of the protective lining of the ear canal. However, it can blossom into as painful an infection as you will ever experience. For adults, Otitis externa is the second most common cause of ear pain after temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJS).

With a few simple preventive measures it can be kept in check, never developing into a full-blown infection.

Symptoms:

    Ear pain.

  • Itching in your ear canal.

  • Slight redness inside the ear.

  • Drainage from the ear.

  • Feeling of fullness inside your ear.

  • Ringing in the ears.

  • Sometimes fever is also associated with this disease.

Diagnosis:

The doctor will perform a physical exam, which includes looking inside the ears using otoscope. The ear canalappears red and swollen. The skin inside the ear canal may be scaly or shedding. For severe infections, the doctor can also take a sample of fluid from the ear and send it to the lab for bacteria or fungus.

Treatment:

Treatment is aimed at cleaning the canal and keeping it dry.

Medicines may include:

    Ear drops containing antibiotics. Cleaning your outer ear canal is necessary to help eardrops flow to all infected areas. Your doctor will use a suction device or ear curette to clean away any discharge, clumps of earwax, flaky skin and other debris.

  • Corticosteroids to reduce itching and inflammation.

Preventive Measures:

    Avoid getting water into your ears. Wear earplugs when bathing and using hair products.

  • Avoid swimming in dirty or polluted water.

  • Do not poke your fingers or any other objects into your ears.

Note:The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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