Also known as swimmer’s ear, otitis externa is inflammation of the external auditory canal. Bacterial infections are the most common cause of otitis externa, with the most common organisms being Pseudomonas aeruginosa, S. epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus. Risk for developing otitis externa include swimming or water exposure, excessive cleaning or scratching of the ear, using devices that occlude the ear canal such as hearing aids or ear phone, and allergic contact dermatitis.

Symptoms of otitis media can include ear pain, itching, discharge, redness to the ear and hearing loss. The ear canal can also appear swollen and red. Antibiotic ear drops are usually used for proper treatment. Tips to reduce the chance of developing otitis externa include shaking ears dry after swimming, blow dry ears on a low setting after getting wet, use over the counter ear drops to prevent infection after swimming and consider wearing ear plugs while swimming.

In person treatment is best for proper diagnosis and treatment, so if you are experiencing these symptoms seek medical care. If they will not see you or you need a primary care clinician, you can become a member of Compassion Primary Care, a direct primary care (dpc) practice or schedule a non-member visit

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