Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis) - Symptoms And Treatment
Also known as external otitis and otitis externa, Swimmer's Ear is an inflammation of the skin of the external ear canal and auricle. It may be acute or chronic and it's most common in the summer. With treatment, acute otitis externa usually subsides within 7 days (although it may become chronic) and tends to recur.
Causes of Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)
Otitis externa usually results from bacterial infection with an organism, such as Pseudomonas, Proteus vulgaris. streptococci, or Staphylococcus aureus; sometimes it stems from a fungus, such as Aspergillus niger or Candida albicans (fungal otitis externa is most common in the tropics). Occasionally, chronic otitis externa results from dermatologic conditions, such as seborrhea or psoriasis. Predisposing factors include:
Signs and symptoms of Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)
Acute otitis externa characteristically produces moderate to severe pain that is exacerbated by manipulation of the auricle or tragus, clenching the teeth, opening the mouth, or chewing. Its other clinical effects may include fever, foul-smelling aural discharge, regional cellulitis, and partial hearing loss.Fungal otitis externa may be asymptomatic, although A. niger produces a black or gray blotting paper-like growth in the ear canal. In chronic otitis externa, pruritus replaces pain, which may lead to scaling and skin thickening with a resultant narrowing of the lumen. An aural discharge may also occur. Asteatosis (lack of cerumen) is common
Diagnosis of Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)
Physical examination confirms swimmer's Ear. In acute otitis externa, otoscopy reveals a swollen external ear canal (sometimes to the point of complete closure), periauricular lymphadenopathy (tender nodes in front of the tragus, behind the ear, or in the upper neck) and, occasionally, regional cellulitis.
In fungal otitis externa, removal of growth shows thick red epithelium. Microscopic examination or culture and sensitivity tests can identify the causative organism and determine antibiotic treatment. Pain on palpation of the tragus or auricle distinguishes acute otitis externa from otitis media.
In chronic otitis externa, physical examination shows thick red epithelium in the ear canal. Severe chronic otitis externa may reflect underlying diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, or nephritis.
Treatment of Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)
Treatment varies, depending on the type of otitis externa
Acute otitis externa :- To relieve the pain of acute otitis externa, treatment includes heat therapy to the periauricular region (heat lamp; hot, damp compresses; heating pad), aspirin or acetaminophen, and codeine. Instillation of antibiotic eardrops (with or without hydrocortisone) follows cleaning of the ear and removal of debris. If fever persists or regional cellulitis develops, a systemic antibiotic is necessary.
Fungal otitis externa :- As with other forms of this disorder, fungal otitis externa necessitates careful cleaning of the ear. Application of a keratolytic or 2% salicylic acid in cream containing nystatin may help treat otitis externa resulting from candidal organisms.
Instillation of slightly acidic eardrops creates an unfavorable environment in the ear canal for most fungi as well as Pseudomonas
Chronic otitis externa :- Primary treatment consists of cleaning the ear and removing debris. Supplemental therapy includes instillation of antibiotic eardrops or application of antibiotic ointment or cream (neomycin, bacitracin, or polymyxin, possibly combined with hydrocortisone). Another ointment contains phenol, salicylic acid, precipitated sulfur, and petroleum jelly and produces exfoliative and antipruritic effects.
For mild chronic otitis externa, treatment may include instilling antibiotic eardrops once or twice weekly and wearing specially fitted earplugs while showering, shampooing, or swimming
Home remedies for Swimmer's Ear
Prevention Of Swimmer's Ear
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