An outer ear infection involves the external opening of the ear and ear canal. This type of ear infection often arises after exposure to moisture. The infection is prevalent among children, teenagers and adults who spend a lot of time in water.
What are the causes?
Swimming or even bathing or taking a shower too frequently can result to an outer ear infection. Any leftover water within the ear canal serves as a breeding site for bacteria.
An infection is likely if the thin skin layer lining the ear canal is damaged. Scratching, inserting cotton swabs or using headphones can damage this lining which increases the risk for infection.
What are the indications?
The indications of outer ear infection typically include:
- Drainage of pus
- Ear pain
- Reduced or muffled hearing
If there is severe pain in the head, face or neck, it is a sign that the infection is in an advanced stage.
Management of an outer ear infection
An outer ear infection might recuperate on its own without requiring treatment. Generally, antibiotic eardrops have been the mainstay in the treatment if the infection has not healed.
The doctor might also suggest antibiotic drops combined with steroids to lessen the inflammation in the ear canal. It is applied several times throughout the day for 7-10 days.
It is vital to keep water out of the ears while the infection is healing to lessen the symptoms.
Additionally, over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given to lessen the pain. In severe cases, prescription pain medications might be prescribed by the doctor.