July 16, 2009

Symptoms & Treatment for Malignant Otitis Externa

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Since malignant otitis externa is a complication of otitis externa, we need to first, find out the details about this condition which is also known as “swimmers ear”. Otitis Externa is the inflammation of the outer ear as well as the ear canal. The inflammation can be caused by active bacterial or fungal infection or simply, just a case of dermatitis where there is no bacterial infection. The bacterial kind is caused by bacteria like pseudomonas which is relatively difficult to treat.

Malignant Otitis Externa is the spread of this infection to the inner ear. The infection spreads from the floor of the ear canal, to the nearby tissues and finally to the bones at the base of the skull. The infection or inflammation may damage the bones and, at times, go on to completely damage them. The infection may eventually spread to vital parts of the body like the cranial nerves and brain among others.

The condition brings with it a serious reduction in the immunity levels of the patient. The immunity levels may be reduced as low as that of an elderly diabetic patient and that of a person infected with the AIDS virus. The condition can be started by a number of situations or incidents such as cleaning your ears with sharp fingernails or other sharp objects that might tear the tissues of the ear canal which could lead to an infection. Exposure to any infectious organism, especially from swimming in polluted water, is a known cause of this condition.

One should watch out for some of these symptoms when suspecting this condition:

  • Severe aching in the ear
  • Movement of the outer portion of the ear is painful
  • The ear wax appears soft and white
  • A foul smelling discharge is noticed
  • Granulation is noticed in the ear canal
  • A considerable loss in hearing
  • Fever
  • Swelling in the ear and / or lymph nodes on the neck
  • Severe cases will also cause a facial nerve paralysis

Here are a few trusted home remedies that could help a lot in curing the condition:

  • Heat some baby oil and, while it warms, pour some into the ear with the help of an ear dropper. Place a cotton ball to avoid draining of the oil.
  • If you have water clogged ears, put three or four drops of apple cider vinegar, diluted in equal parts with water or alcohol. This helps prevent the infection.