May 27, 2017
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Otitis Externa (cont.)

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What is the prognosis for a person with chronic swimmer's ear?

Swimmer's ear is a treatable condition that usually resolves quickly with appropriate treatment. Most often, swimmer's ear can be easily treated with antibiotic ear drops. The doctor may advise using a wick to administer medication while the ear canal is swollen. Chronic swimmer's ear may require more intensive treatment. Swimmer's ear typically does not have any long-term or serious complications.

Why do ears itch?

Itchy ears can drive a person crazy. It can be the first sign of an infection, but if the problem is chronic, it is more likely caused by a chronic dermatitis of the ear canal. Seborrheic dermatitis and eczema can both affect the ear canal. There is really no cure for this problem, but it can be made tolerable with the use of steroid drops and creams. People with these problems are more prone to acute infections as well. Use of ear plugs, alcohol drops, and non-instrumentation of the ear is the best prevention for infection. Other treatments for allergies may also help itchy ears.

What should I do if I get a foreign object or insect in my ear?

Foreign objects are frequently placed in the ear by young children or occur accidentally while trying to clean or scratch the ear. Frequently there is an accompanying external ear infection. Removal of any object from the ear can be very difficult, and should only be attempted by a physician skilled in the techniques of safe removal. Usually this can be done in the office, but sometimes general anesthesia must be used in cases in which the object is lodged too deeply in the ear or if the patient is uncooperative. It is important to remember that the most common reason an ear is injured from a foreign object is because of inadvertent damage occurring during removal of the object.

Insects or bugs may also become trapped in the ear. Small gnats may become caught in the ear wax and cannot fly out. They can often be washed out with warm water. Larger insects or bugs may not be able to turn around in the narrow canal. If the insect or bug is still alive, first kill it by filling the ear with mineral oil. This will suffocate the insect, then see your doctor to have it removed.

REFERENCE: Waitzman, A., MD. "Otitis Externa." Medscape. Updated: Jul 11, 2016.
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/994550-overview>


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/16/2017

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/otitis_externa/article.htm

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