Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD.
OTITIS EXTERNA (OUTER
Otitis externa is an infection or inflammation
of the outer ear canal (from the eardrum to the outer opening). It can be caused
by bacteria or a fungus that infects the lining of the ear canal. The infection
can come from swimming in contaminated water or from inflammation caused by an
allergy to hair spray. It can also be caused by the regular use of earphones,
which can trap moisture in the ear canal. It usually lasts 7–10 days with
Living With Your
Signs and symptoms include
pain in the ear that worsens when the earlobe is pulled; itching of the ear
canal; foul-smelling drainage from the ear; a slight fever; and temporary
hearing loss on the affected side because of the swelling of the canal or
are prescribed that contain antibiotics and cortisone to control the
inflammation and fight infection. Oral antibiotics may be needed if the
infection is severe. Use nonprescription medications such as Tylenol or Advil
for minor pain. Avoid getting the ear canal wet for 3 days after all
disappear. Warm compresses may
also help ease the pain.
• Use eardrops as
• Take a nonprescription
medication for pain.
• Gently clean
the outer ear daily to remove
• Keep water out of the
irritate the ear by cleaning or scratching the ear with swabs, bobby pins, or
other sharp objects.
swim in lakes that could be polluted. Lakes with large populations of duck or
geese can be polluted from their
• Don’t swim or get
water in the ear for at least 3 days after the symptoms
When to Call Your
• If pain continues after
treatment has begun.
• If pain become
severe and is not relieved by nonprescription
• If a high fever
develops after treatment has started.