What To Do When U Have An Ear Infection – Otitis externa, commonly known as “swimmer’s ear”, is an irritation or inflammation of the ear canal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are millions of cases of acute otitis externa in the United States, accounting for more than 2.4 million patient care visits each year. When summers are hot in Texas, both children and adults develop this condition after swimming to cool off. Below you can learn about the symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention of swimmer’s ear. What is swimmer’s ear? This ear infection has been called swimmer’s ear for years because it affects people who spend a lot of time underwater, such as swimmers. Bacteria and germs easily accumulate in swimming pools. If contaminated water gets stuck in the ear canal, an infection can occur. Both children and adults can develop floating ear, but people with eczema or excess earwax are more prone to otitis externa. What makes otitis externa different from other forms of ear infections is that it usually affects the external ear canal, which is responsible for transmitting sound from outside the body directly to the eardrum. External otitis can occur in mild and chronic forms. It may last a few short days or longer. It all depends on the individual. Make an appointment today for evaluation and treatment of swimmer’s ear in Houston, TX. Make an appointment for swimmer’s ear treatment today at one of our 10 convenient Houston locations. What causes otitis externa? As mentioned above, otitis externa involves an infection of the skin in the ear canal. The ear canal is a warm, narrow tunnel that, if given the chance, makes the perfect hiding place for germs. Some of the most common causes of this type of ear infection are: Exposure to moisture Although otitis externa is often referred to as “swimmer’s ear,” it doesn’t just happen to children and adults who spend a lot of time in swimming pools. won’t be. Moisture in showers, bathrooms, and other humid environments can be a major factor. Acute otitis appearance is caused by common fungi and bacteria, for example; Streptococci, pseudomonas and staphylococci, which can sometimes be present in moist environments. Exposure to bacteria present in hot tubs, swimming pools, or generally unclean water can cause otitis externa. Allowing substances to enter the ear canal Otitis externa can be caused by irritation of the external ear canal. Damage to the skin in the ear canal by scratching or hitting it will eventually lead to inflammation. However, if shampoo, hair spray, or other chemicals come in contact with the inflamed skin, you can expect to develop an infection. The skin in the ear canal is very sensitive. Humidity Severely humid weather, such as what we experience in Houston, can increase the likelihood of developing otitis externa because humidity can lead to profuse sweating. Pre-existing skin conditions People who suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema are more likely to develop otitis externa. In severe cases, these skin diseases begin to affect the ear canal, which causes itching and inflammation of the skin in the external canal. Although Earwax Wax can help protect the ear canal from external infection, when it starts to build up too much, it can start to irritate the outer skin of the canal. Attempting to remove wax with cotton swabs or other objects will cause infection. You can also expect an infection on the outside of the canal when water gets trapped behind too much wax. Does Houston have swimmer’s ear? Symptoms of otitis externa (swimmer’s ear) It is not difficult to determine if you have otitis externa. Usually, the symptoms of swimmer’s ear start out mild and can eventually get worse if left untreated. When you consult a doctor, he will diagnose otitis externa depending on the stage of development. Common symptoms of an outer ear canal infection are persistent itching inside the ear and pain that worsens when you pull on the outer ear. Itching can be a fungus, an allergic reaction, or perhaps chronic inflammation of the skin. In most cases, one ear is infected, but it is possible to see an infection in both. Additional signs and symptoms of otitis externa include: Discharge from the ear canal Pain or discomfort in the ear canal Feeling full or blocked in the ear Severe pain radiating to the face, neck, or side of the head Swollen lymph nodes around the ear and neck In severe cases, hearing loss. Redness and swelling around the ear. Difficulty chewing or speaking. These complications may include: Hearing loss. In chronic cases, a person can completely lose hearing in the infected ear. However, hearing usually returns to normal after successful treatment. Recurrent infection. Sometimes chronic otitis externa recurs if it is not treated properly the first time. Bone and cartilage damage. If otitis externa is left untreated, you can expect it to spread to the cranial nerves as well as the base of the skull and brain. An ENT doctor in Houston usually diagnoses an outer ear canal infection by taking a sample of the discharge and testing it for bacteria. They also examine the ear canal using an otoscope, which allows them to look down the canal. Methods of treatment of otitis externa What are the methods of treatment of otitis externa? Well, the early stages of swimmer’s ear are usually easy to treat. In fact, effective but thorough cleaning of the ear canal along with ear drops is effective to stop or prevent further development of bacteria or fungus. Mildly acidic solutions also help reduce inflammation. Additional treatment options for swimmer’s ear include: Prescription ear drops or sprays that contain a combination of antibiotics and steroids. Antibiotics treat the infection, while steroids help reduce itching and inflammation. Prescription ear drops may even contain chemicals that help restore the canal to a healthy balance. After using the ear drops, remember to lie with the infected ear facing up so that the ear can fully absorb the medicine. In extreme cases, pain relievers may be prescribed to relieve severe pain. Depending on the progress, the ear canal may require cleaning by a medical professional. The doctor uses gentle suction or water irrigation to thoroughly clean the canal. You can even swab the ear before cleaning to make sure the antibiotics are working. In minor cases of swimmer’s ear, it can be treated at home. A natural home remedy for ear drops can be used with alcohol and vinegar. You can use equal half of each solution. This medicine helps to remove excess water from the canal and keep the ears dry. How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear Preventing swimmer’s ear is easier than getting rid of it once it occurs. Therefore, it is important to take measures to prevent inflammation of the outer ear. There are a few simple ways to reduce your chances of getting an ear infection: Keep your ears dry. Dry ear infections are hard to get. So you try not to get your ears wet. After exposure to water, such as swimming, bathing, or showering, you can dry your ears by placing a small cotton ball at the entrance of the ear canal. You’ll also want to clean the outside of the ear with an alcohol-free baby wipe or dry tissue. However, first you should try to dry the ears naturally. Try to keep your ears dry while swimming by wearing a cap that fits your ears well, as well as earplugs. Avoid inserting objects into the ear canal when cleaning. Do not use cotton buds to remove earwax, as this can push dirt and wax further into the ear and cause irritation. Avoid scratching or pushing the inside of the ears. Consider having the ears cleaned and examined by a professional. This is especially important if you often get otitis externa or if you have a lot of earwax. Wear earplugs when swimming or showering. This is especially important if you are prone to swimmer’s ear. At Houston ENT and Allergy Services for Swimmer’s Ear Treatment in Houston, we have helped many patients who come in with swimmer’s ear. If you or your child believe they currently have swimmer’s ear, or if it seems to be developing steadily, we can help. Call us at 281-623-1312 or request an important one here. Kathleen Rose McDonald, MD
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What To Do When U Have An Ear Infection
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