If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions click below to fill out our assessment form.
"Dr. Nguyen and his staff are very nice. The sinus procedure was tough at the beginning as I could not take steroids to aid the recovery process, but now I'm feeling great!"
If you are experiencing inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal, it is likely due to an outer ear infection, clinically known as otitis externa and commonly known as Swimmer’s Ear.
Outer ear infections can come on suddenly or even be self-inflicted. The condition gets its name from the situation where bacteria grows in the moist ear of someone who has gone swimming, but any time the outer ear canals are unable to protect against bacterial growth, an outer ear infection can occur. An ear’s natural defenses can be affected by excess moisture, scratches or abrasions, or the skin’s sensitivity to items like jewelry or products like hair spray.
For swimmers, surfers and boaters the cause can be different. Water that becomes trapped in the ear canal collects and becomes the perfect place for bacteria to grow. Although the kind of infection can range from mild to severe there are very common symptoms to look out for.
Depending on the severity of the infection, the symptoms of an outer ear infection can range from slight discomfort to conditions that require immediate medical intervention.
Some of the more mild symptoms include:
When left untreated, more serious symptoms include:
The most important thing is to address the infection. If it’s a really mild case and your ear hasn’t been damaged in any way then staying out of the water could return things to normal. Creams and ear drops can help with a moderate infection and should be used as indicated. The best form of dealing with swimmer’s ear though is prevention.
If steps aren’t taken to address the infection, as all infections do, it can get a bit carried away. Primarily, the infection can spread to other parts of your body, complicating things further. More common to elderly diabetics but still a risk anyway, the flesh around the ear will necrotize. This can make its way through your ear canal and start to affect the nerves possibly affecting your breathing or causing facial paralysis.
Here are some great tips to help reduce your risk of creating an ideal environment that can lead to a swimmer’s ear infection:
Typically, the early stages of Swimmer’s Ear can be easily treated with medication, but if the infection spreads or intensifies, more specialized treatments will be necessary. At Houston Sinus & Allergy, our experienced ear specialist Dr. Nguyen can examine your condition and determine the severity, and which level of treatment would be most effective.