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The two commonest infective disorder of ear are;
1) Otitis externa; outer ear infection
2) Otitis media; middle ear infection
Otitis media is defined by the presence of infected fluid in the middle ear cavity; it must be distinguished from otitis media with effusion, which is defined by the presence of uninfected fluid in the middle ear cavity. The key to distinguishing between both is the performance of pneumatic otoscopy using appropriate tools and an adequate light source by the ENT specialist. Usually the treatment is oral antibiotic with anti-histaminics (anti allergy medications).
External otitis refers to inflammation of the external auditory canal or auricle (pinna).
Excessive cleaning or aggressive scratching of the ear canal not only removes cerumen (which is our defense of the ear canal), but can also create abrasions in the thin ear canal skin, allowing organisms to gain access to deeper tissue. In addition, part of a cotton swab may become detached or a small piece of tissue paper may be left behind in the ear canal; these remnants can partially disintegrate and fester, causing a severe skin reaction and infection. Following is the treatment;
1) Thoroughly clean the ear canal (done by doctor); with direct vision through an otoscope using a cerumen wire loop or cotton swab to gently remove debris. The ear canal may be irrigated with a 1:1 dilution of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. THE HOME CLEANING IS NOT EFFECTIVE AND MUST NOT BE TRIED.
2) Treat inflammation and infection; ANTIBIOTIC DROPS: ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin can be prescribed by your physician.
3) Control pain; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, like Ibuprofen.
4) Culture in severe or recalcitrant cases; reserved for patients with severe external otitis or in recurrence.
Ideally you should see your primary care physician or an ENT specialist. Over the counter products are not of much help.
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