Otitis externa

Otitis externa is a very common ear condition. It usually occurs following minor trauma, often self-inflicted, to the external auditory canal (EAC). Treatment is usually straightforward with local toilet and topical medications. In severe cases, the external canal should be packed with an otowick or ribbon gauze impregnated with a steroid-containing antibiotic cream. The dressing should be changed daily or as required by the condition. When the condition becomes recurrent or is resistant to treatment, an underlying cause should be excluded. Conditions like diabetes mellitus and a chronic dermatosis may need to be treated simultaneously. Otomycosis may sometimes complicate chronic otitis externa especially when prolonged or recurrent courses of topical antibiotics had been used. Rigorous aural toilet and topical antifungal eardrops should be used. Repeated local toilets and antifungal therapy are often needed as the fungal spores are very resistant to treatment. Occasionally, stenosis of the EAC may be the cause and need to be treated surgically.

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