Ear infections

Middle EAR INFECTION (Otitis Media)

Ear infections are infections caused by a virus or bacterial intervention into the middle ear. They are most common in children than in adults. In fact, it is one of the most sought-after reasons parents bring their children to a physician. Since they are painful due to inflammation and fluid build-up, pain management and keeping a close eye on the problem is an initial part of treatment.



The risk factors for an ear infection are many, including but not limited to:

  The shape and size of the Eustachian tubes along with poorly developed immune systems of children aged 6 months and 2 years make them more susceptible to getting ear infections.

    Ear infections are more common during the fall and winter season due to the prevalence of cold and flu.

    Individuals with seasonal allergies have a bigger risk due to a high pollen count in the atmosphere.

    Exposure to poor air quality i.e. tobacco smoke or air pollution can drastically increase the risk for it.

When should you seek medical care for an Ear infection?

It’s important to get appropriate and timely treatment to prevent any future complications. You need to get medical attention if you see any of the following:

    Your symptoms last for more than a day.

    The pain is too severe.

  Your child is frequently irritable or is experiencing insomnia.

    You notice blood, fluid discharge or pus from the ear.


The doctor will check the ear with a device called an Otoscope for signs of infection. He/she would also look for signs of infection with another instrument called the Tympanometry, which uses sound and air pressure to check for fluid if any in the middle year.  Ear infections are mostly caused by viruses so antibiotics would not work in such a case. Although, if it’s caused by bacteria then antibiotics do the trick. Also, things such as ear drops are prescribed to help soothe any inflammation.


Otitis externa is a condition that causes diffuse inflammation (redness and swelling) of the external ear canal, which is the tube between the outer ear and eardrum caused by bacterial infections. Otitis externa is often referred to as “swimmer’s ear” because repeated exposure to water can make the ear canal more vulnerable to inflammation.


Who is affected?

  • Otitis externa is relatively common. It’s estimated that around 1 in 10 people will be affected by it at some point in their lives. The condition is slightly more common in women than men and is most often diagnosed in adults aged 45 to 75.
  • People with certain long-term (chronic) conditions are at greater risk of developing

the condition such as: 

    • Atopic Eczema, also known as Atopic Dermatitis, is the most common form of eczema. It mainly affects children but can also affect adults.
    • Asthma is a common long-term condition that can cause coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness.
    • Allergic Rhinitis is inflammation of the inside of the nose caused by an allergen, such as pollen, dust, mold, or flakes of skin from certain animals.

How otitis externa is treated

  • Otitis externa sometimes gets better without treatment, but it

         can take several weeks. Your GP can prescribe ear drop medication that usually improves the symptoms within a few days.

  • Antibiotic ear drop that may be used several times a day for   about a week to treat otitis externa. 
  • Your doctor may refer you to a specialist for further treatment and advice if symptoms are severe or they fail to respond to treatment.


Family-practice physicians have faced rising rates of infections and allergic contact dermatitis as body piercings proliferate on the ear. As early as 1998, as many as 35 percent of people with pierced ears suffered infections, allergic reactions to their earrings or other complications. The lack of blood supply in the cartilage can make “high” piercings heal slowly. Nickel is the most commonly allergenic metal in earrings, though some people are sensitive to even gold and silver. In any case, broken skin is open to infection, and infected cartilage may not be repairable.

Swimmer’s Ear

The ear canal slopes slightly down to drain moisture and the waxy cerumen secreted by some of its skin cells to protect against moisture. If the canal gets blocked, which can stem from an allergic reaction to chemicals in pool water or shampoo, or excessive cleaning with a scratchy object, materials that harbor infection can build up in the ear canal. When the material does drain, it can further irritate the skin outside the ear, or infection can travel out under the surface of the skin. The worst cases may call for systemic treatment, such as with oral antibiotics.

Contact Encino Town Medical / Encino Commons Urgent Care to get rid of that ear infection



Symptoms noticed in children are as follows:

    Recurring ear pain especially when lying down

    Pulling or tugging at the ear

    Being irritable

    Difficulty sleeping

    Hearing difficulty

    Fever of more than 100 F  or higher

    Drooping fluid from the ear

    Loss of appetite


The symptoms in adults

    Ear pain

    Drainage of fluid from the ear

    Trouble hearing




  • Ear pain (Otalgia) pronounced when tugging ear
  • Itching inside the ear canal
  • Sensation of fullness
  • A discharge of liquid or pus drainage from the ear canal (Otorrhea)
  • Swelling and redness
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Tenderness of external ear

Usually only one ear is affected. With treatment, these symptoms should clear up within a few days. However, some cases can persist for several months or longer.

You should see your Doctor if you may have otitis externa.

What causes otitis externa?

  • Bacterial infection (most cases of otitis externa)
  • Irritation
  • Fungal infections
  • Allergies

Factors that can make you more prone to develop otitis externa, including:

  • damaging the skin inside your ear such as
  • regularly getting water in your ear. Getting water in your ear is particularly significant, because this can cause you to scratch inside your ear, and the moisture also provides an ideal environment for bacteria to grow.


Preventing otitis externa

  • To help reduce your chances of developing otitis  externa, you should avoid inserting cotton wool buds and other things into your ears (including your   fingers), as this can damage the sensitive skin in your ear canal.
  • If you’re a regular swimmer, consider using ear plugs when

    swimming or wearing a swimming cap to cover your ears and

protect them from water. You should also try to avoid getting

water, soap or shampoo into your ears when you have a

shower or bath.

Cellulitis ear lobe

  • The cartilage of the upper ear has thin skin and little blood, but it can become infected.
  • Cellulitis is most suspected when the fleshy lobe, which has no cartilage or bone and minimal secretions, is inflamed along with the skin in other areas of the ear

Allergic Cellulitis of the Ear

Cellulitis is formally an infectious process in the deep layers of the skin. A virus or, more commonly, a bacterium such as Staphylococcus aureus can get into the skin because of irritation caused by an allergic reaction. An ear is fairly resistant to such irritations, but every time you put an object or substance in, on, or through your ear, you risk breaking down that resistance. Only in the most severe cases is an auricular infection dangerous, however


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