Acute otitis externa, also known as swimmer's ear, is a painful condition that occurs when the external ear canal becomes infected and inflamed. It is commonly caused by bacteria or fungi. Symptoms include ear pain, itching, and discharge. Prompt treatment can help alleviate the discomfort and prevent complications.







Acute Otitis Externa FAQ

What are the common causes of acute otitis externa?

Acute otitis externa is often caused by bacterial or fungal infections. It can also occur due to excessive moisture or irritation in the ear canal.

What are the typical symptoms of acute otitis externa?

Symptoms include ear pain, itching, discharge, and difficulty hearing. The ear may also appear red and swollen.

How is acute otitis externa diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose acute otitis externa by examining the ear canal and may take a swab to identify the causative organism.

What are the treatment options for acute otitis externa?

Treatment may involve antibiotic or antifungal ear drops, pain relief medications, and measures to keep the ear dry and clean.

Is acute otitis externa contagious?

No, acute otitis externa is not contagious. It is not spread from person to person.

Can swimming cause acute otitis externa?

Excessive exposure to water, especially in swimming or diving, can contribute to the development of acute otitis externa.

How long does it take for acute otitis externa to heal?

With appropriate treatment, acute otitis externa often improves within a few days. Severe cases may require longer treatment.

Can I use over-the-counter ear drops for acute otitis externa?

It's important to use prescribed ear drops specifically for the treatment of acute otitis externa, as over-the-counter drops may not be effective against the infection.

What precautions should be taken to prevent acute otitis externa?

Keeping the ears dry, avoiding excessive ear cleaning, and protecting the ears from irritants can help prevent acute otitis externa.

Is it safe to fly with acute otitis externa?

Flying with acute otitis externa may cause discomfort due to changes in air pressure. Consult a doctor before flying with this condition.

Can acute otitis externa lead to hearing loss?

In severe or untreated cases, acute otitis externa can lead to temporary hearing loss. Prompt treatment can help prevent complications.

What should I do if my symptoms do not improve with treatment?

If symptoms do not improve or worsen, it is important to consult a doctor for further evaluation and appropriate management.

Can children get acute otitis externa?

Yes, children can also develop acute otitis externa, especially if they spend a lot of time swimming or have a history of ear infections.

Is it necessary to see a doctor for acute otitis externa?

It is advisable to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and tailored treatment, especially if the symptoms are severe or if there is a history of ear problems.

Are there any complications associated with acute otitis externa?

Complications such as spread of infection, cartilage damage, and chronic otitis externa can occur if the condition is not adequately treated.

Can acute otitis externa reoccur?

Yes, acute otitis externa can reoccur, especially if preventive measures are not followed or if there are underlying predisposing factors.

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