No matter if you frequently swim, take a shower or listen to music using a pair of earphones, this article is meant for you. That’s because it will get you acquainted with an ear problem that you are at high risk of having, and it’s what doctors refer to as otitis externa.
Simply put, otitis externa is infection of the outer opening of the ear canal or sometimes the ear canal itself. It’s for this reason exactly why in layman’s terms otitis media is known as outer ear infection. It is an entirely different matter from otitis media (middle ear infection) and otitis interna (inner ear infection).
Read on to know about some of the common causes, signs and symptoms and treatment for otitis extrena. After checking out the entirety of this article, kindly share it on your various social media sites to get everyone you care about know what this ear issue is.
One of the main causes of otitis externa is swimming. Your risk of having it considerably increases if you swim in water where there are lots of bacteria present. Because the infection is frequently seen in people who love to swim, one very common type of otitis externa is what’s called swimmer’s ear.
However, you don’t really need to be a professional swimmer or fond of swimming just to get otitis externa. If you like to take a shower or bath on a regular basis, you may get it as well.
Exposure to contaminated water is not the only way for you to end up with otitis externa. Do you love using a pair of earphones each time you listen to music which you tend to do most of the time? Those earphones of yours may introduce bacteria to the ear canal, thus causing otitis externa.
Cleaning your ears on a regular basis may also put you at higher risk of otitis externa for a couple of reasons. First, it removes earwax or cerumen that actually possesses antimicrobial properties. Second, it may cause a break in the skin which bacteria like to invade.
Signs and Symptoms
If you are suffering from otitis externa, the opening of your ear canal or the ear canal itself may feel itchy or painful. It may feel like it is warm, and it looks like it is red. Because there’s an ongoing infection, you may notice excess fluid drainage or the presence of pus.
Otitis externa may advance if your body is not able to control the infection or you keep on doing the things that have caused the infection in the first place.
The infection may have already progressed if you have fever and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. It’s not unlikely for your ears to feel painful, and sometimes the head, face and neck as well. Ear pain is another indicator of otitis externa that has considerably advanced.
Most cases of otitis externa go away on their own most especially if the individual’s immune system is in a commendable shape. While complete healing is not yet attained, it’s of utmost importance to keep the affected ears from coming into contact with water.
If it seems like the infection is taking a while to heal, it is a good idea to pay an ENT specialist a visit. He or she may recommend antibacterial ear drops that can help in putting otitis externa under control. The ear drops are commonly instilled a few times daily for 7 to 10 days.
The intake of OTC pain relieving medication may also be suggested if the infection of the opening of the ear canal or ear canal itself is causing pain or discomfort.