Swimmer's ear usually clears up in a week or so. However, sometimes persists. This brochure lists the possible causes and treatments for persistent otitis externa.
On this page
- What is swimmer's ear?
- What are the symptoms of chronic otitis externa?
- Reasons for becoming chronic otitis externa
- Still no success?
- Prevention of otitis externa
What is swimmer's ear?
Otitis externa is an inflammation of the ear canal that causes can be caused by infection, allergy or other. Symptoms include itching, ear discharge, hearing dull and temporary pain.
Most episodes of otitis externa clear within a week or so with ear drops or sprays. These usually contain an antibiotic and a steroid. The antibiotic and steroid infection clears reduces itching and inflammation.
However, in some cases, external otitis becomes chronic (persistent). This means that lasts for more than three months. Sometimes it can take several years.
What are the symptoms of chronic otitis externa?
Symptoms chronic otitis externa are similar to those of acute otitis externa. However, other symptoms may include:
- Constant itching in and around your ear canal.
- Discomfort and pain in the ear.
- A discharge from the ear.
- Your hearing may also be affected. This may be due to some dry skin, accumulates in the ear canal, which then close.
Reasons for becoming chronic otitis externa
There are different reasons why some people develop chronic otitis externa. These are generally the same as for people who develop acute otitis externa. However, for many people with chronic otitis externa underlying cause is unknown.
The causes of chronic otitis externa include:
If you get water, shampoo, soap, hairspray, etc., in the ears can cause irritation or itching. This may cause scratching or touching the ear. This can damage the skin of the ear canal and cause inflammation. Inflammation of the skin can become infected quickly. A vicious cycle can then be developed. Inflammation and infection cause more itching, scratching, then it makes things worse, etc. Therefore, despite treatment, the infection can continue if you continue to push or scratch his ear. Therefore:
- Try not to scratch or poke the ear canal with fingers, cotton swabs, towels, etc.
- Do not clean the ear canal with cotton swabs. It can damage and irritate, and push wax or dirt further into the ear. The ear is clean wax and fall apart occasionally.
- Try not to drop the soap or shampoo into the ear canal. This can be done when you have a shower by placing a piece of cotton coated white soft paraffin (eg Vaseline ®) in the outer ear.
- Do not use towels or cotton buds corners to dry the water that gets into the ear canal. This will make things more inside the ear to dry naturally.
- When you swim try to keep the ears dry. You can do this by using a tightly fitting cap that covers the ears. Some swimmers use earplugs silicone rubber, but only use them if you do not irritate the skin in the ear canal.
Let off discharge
As a rule, do not leave cotton wool balls in the ear canal. This stops the download (rubble), you need to leave. However, if the discharge is heavy, you may need to put some cotton slightly on the outside of the channel to clean up the spill. Using a cotton ball, change it frequently with a fresh piece.
Sometimes OE does not disappear because eardrops misused. You have to put in the specified frequency to be fully effective. If the ear drops out quickly, it may not work so well. By using drops:
- Sleeps up the affected ear.
- Put a few drops in the ear, and are in this position for 1-2 minutes.
- Press the cartilage in front of the ear canal a few times to push droplets deep into the ear canal.
Some bacteria (germs) that infect the ear canal are resistant to some antibiotic ear drops. A change to other ear drops may be recommended if you have used the first successful, but there has been little improvement after a week or so. Sometimes a swab (a small sample of the discharge) and sent to the laboratory. This can help identify the germ causing the infection and which antibiotic is best for use against this germ. If the infection is severe, antibiotic tablets may be required in addition to drops.
Clearing the download can advise
A doctor or nurse can clean the ear canal. They do this by using cotton wool on a stick is pushed gently particular inside the ear canal to absorb any drainage or waste. Some doctors and nurses are trained to do. Sometimes, a referral to an ear specialist is needed. Sometimes gentle suction or injection is used to eliminate discharge located in the ear canal. You may have a clear discharge regular outside every few days or so until the otitis externa is gone.
A wick may be recommended if the ear canal is very swollen
A wick is a material piece of gauze soaked in antibiotic drops. He gently placed in the ear canal by a doctor or nurse. The wick ensures that an antibiotic is always present and reaches the inner part of the ear canal. A wick is usually changed regularly.
Paracetamol or ibuprofen usually relieve pain. Stronger pain is sometimes necessary. If you have a hot flannel against the ear can also relieve pain.
Still no success?
Treatments are typically remove most cases of otitis externa. However, your doctor may consider a few other steps if still persists.
Some people develop an allergy or sensitivity to ear drops used for otitis externa. The itching and discharge then may worsen rather than improve. If a change is suspected then an ear drop low in allergic reactions may be advised. Sometimes a doctor will advise you to stop all ear drops containing antibiotics. A drop ear can only be tried steroids to reduce inflammation. Referral to a specialist for testing skin patch is sometimes necessary to find out what is causing the allergy. For example, the antibiotic, or a preservative in particular ear drop.
Most ear canal infections are caused by bacteria. These germs usually resolve with antibiotic drops. A rare cause of persistent external otitis is due to a fungal infection. Fungal germs are not killed by antibiotics – in fact, ear drops with antibiotics and steroids can cause a yeast infection worse. A fungal infection may be suspected if an external otitis persists with treatment as usual. A swab can be taken to confirm the diagnosis. Fungal infections in the ear canal are difficult to treat. It may take several weeks of antifungal ear drops and / or pills to eliminate fungal ear infection.
Middle ear infections
If the ear canal is full of discharge can be difficult for a doctor to see if it is from the outer ear (otitis externa) or middle ear infection, which has come through a burst eardrum. You may be referred to a specialist if the cause is unclear.
Sometimes the inflammation in the ear canal is a local area of a skin disorder, such as a small patch of eczema or psoriasis. The symptoms in the ear may be similar to an infection, but bacteria or fungal germs are not the cause. This is not common, but the inflammation in the ear may occasionally burst as skin disorders occasionally burst. The treatment is usually advised steroid ear drops when symptoms flare up.
Referral to a specialist
This may be necessary for measures such as cleaning the discharge canal, if a fungal infection is suspected or for a more detailed examination of the ear.
Prevention of otitis externa
OE has a tendency to recur. It is less likely to be repeated if you follow the advice given above in "sensitive ears" section. In short, try to keep the ear canal dry, and avoid the soap or shampoo hop Most importantly avoid scratching or digging the canal with fingers, towels, cotton buds or wool or anything else.