External otitis media: treatment in adults

Otitis externa is one of the types of inflammatory ear disease that affects the skin covering the external auditory canal. The disease is usually caused by fungi or bacteria. One should be aware of the symptoms and treatment of external otitis media in adults, since complications of different severity can develop without timely treatment.

  • Features of the disease
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • How to treat otitis externa
  • Treatment with folk remedies
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Features of the disease

Most often, external inflammatory ear disease occurs in children, but there are likely cases of inflammation in adults. This type of otitis is often called the swimmer's ear, since most often the infection occurs during the bathing season when it comes in contact with contaminated water, in a humid environment.

With external otitis, the internal structure of the ear is not affected, but without treatment, the infection can spread further down the auditory canal. The otitis media of the middle ear can begin to develop, in which pus begins to accumulate in the cavities of the middle ear. This disease is much more dangerous, there is a possibility of infectious damage to the brain, there may be meningitis, an abscess, other dangerous for life and health condition.

There is also an external diffuse otitis, which is most difficult to tolerate, an infectious lesion is usually more extensive. With this type of disease, the infection can affect the skin of the ear, it causes severe pain and swelling. If the treatment is not started immediately after the lesion is detected, severe complications can develop.

The code for external otitis media according to ICD-10 is H60. For the most part this information is necessary for doctors, do not self-diagnose and self-medicate with otitis different types.


The main cause of the disease is infection in the ear cavity, which can occur in several ways. The most common ways to defeat bacterial and fungal infections, due to which there is an external otitis:

  1. Improper hygiene of the auricle and auditory canal, excessive hygiene of the ears. Most people, when cleaning their ears, try to penetrate as deep as possible into the ear canal, although sulfur is a natural protection of the ear from bacteria. Its excessive removal can provoke the development of the disease. Also, cases of damage to the tympanic membrane and ear tissues with a cotton swab are not uncommon.
  2. The ingress of dirty water into the ear cavity, often occurs when swimming in an open pool, less often - when visiting the pool. When contaminated water gets wet, a medium is formed in which the bacteria multiply. Chlorinated pool water can provoke irritation, which can also lead to otitis media.
  3. Increased sweating or high humidity. The moist environment promotes more active and extensive bacterial growth, the probability of otitis media increases.
  4. Various mechanical injuries of the ear, bumps, bruises, abrasions. The ear is a fairly fragile organ, traumatization can always lead to serious health consequences.

Important!The risk of otitis media is also increased with infections of the nose and pharynx.

It is also worth noting that in some cases, infection is not enough to develop a full-fledged disease. The degree of development and activity of bacteria depends on the state of human immunity. The higher the resistance of the body, the lower the probability of otitis.

Immunity is affected by nutrition, the presence of bad habits, lifestyle, chronic diseases. Therefore, otitis and other inflammatory diseases are often avoided by people adhering to proper nutrition, without bad habits, leading a healthy lifestyle and supporting suitable therapy for chronic diseases.


The disease begins to develop with acute external otitis media. First, there is pain, usually drawing character, sometimes giving to the front of the face from the side of the ear inflammation. When you press the tragus, the outgrowth of the cartilage at the entrance to the ear canal, the pain in the ear becomes worse.

Then the edema develops, the auricle can visually increase in size, blush, probably, increase in local temperature. There is a feeling of stuffiness of the ear, as if the ear got water. Similar sensations usually happen when wearing headphones and ear plugs.

After a while, the purulent discharge starts from the ear, they can be present in different amounts, the crust forms during drying. Discharge from the auditory canal can be accompanied by an unpleasant odor, depending on the variety of bacteria and the volume of exudate. On the auricle, rashes and furuncles can appear, skin integuments become dry, begin to peel off.

Important!In rare cases, pain with otitis may be absent.

If the disease is started, the otitis media of the middle ear may develop. It is possible to raise the body temperature to 38 - 39 degrees, the pain begins to give to the lower jaw, cervical lymph nodes may inflame.

Chronic external otitis media is also likely to develop. There can be relapses and exacerbations of the disease, treatment has to continue for a long time, drug courses have to be repeated from time to time.

How to treat otitis externa

Treatment of external otitis usually begins with the administration of antibiotics, which are available in the form of drops, tablets for oral administration and sometimes injections. Drugs for injections are usually prescribed for chronic otitis, when therapy is required constantly, the courses take longer.

Before the beginning of treatment it is necessary to undergo a full-fledged diagnosis from an otolaryngologist. Usually an external examination, an analysis of complaints, an ear extraction is taken for bacterial inoculation, which helps to establish the pathogen. Then treatment begins. With external otitis, surgery is usually not required, treatment at home is permitted after the selection of suitable medications.

External otitis during pregnancy does not pose a particular danger to the health of the unborn child, however, its treatment can be seriously complicated. If the disease occurs against the background of gestation, there may be difficulties with the selection of medications. In this case, the probability of the appearance of the disease increases, because often in pregnancy there is a decrease in immunity.

For the treatment of external otitis media the following agents are usually used. Before their use, if necessary, the doctor must clean the ear and auditory passage from purulent contents. Do not try to clean your ears yourself in this situation:

  1. Ear drops. These drugs are different in effect, usually with external otitis does not require strong drugs. Used drops with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. The most common are Sofredeks, Otipaks, Otofa and their analogues.
  2. Antibiotics for oral administration and injections. These drugs are usually prescribed if drops and local treatment as a whole are not effective enough. Usually, drugs based on amoxicillin are used, the course lasts one to two weeks.

If you need a long reception of antibiotics, after using them you may need a course of prebiotics, which help to restore the microflora. Do not interrupt the course of treatment, even if immediately relaxed, it can lead to a severe relapse.

Treatment with folk remedies

Treatment with folk remedies for otitis is usually not recommended, it is easy to provoke complications of the disease. Do not drip anything in your ears, except for special preparations. Especially under the ban, pure alcohol, juice of garlic or onions, which can provoke the strongest irritation.

When otitis is recommended to use folk remedies to help the body cope with the infection from the inside. For example, it is advised to drink infusion of chamomile, one glass of boiling water should take one spoonful of herbs, insist for half an hour.

If there are pains in the throat with otitis, gargle should be rinsed with saline solution to prevent the spread of infection. A glass of warm water needs one spoonful of sea salt, rinse at least twice a day.

In general, with external otitis, the prognosis is favorable. It is important to follow all the recommendations of the doctor in order to prevent the development of complications and relapses of the infectious disease.

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