Otitis Externa was found in 5-Minute Clinical Consult which helps you diagnose, treat, and follow up on over 900 medical conditions seen in everyday practice.
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Inflammation of the external auditory canal:
- Acute diffuse otitis externa: The most common form; an infectious process, usually bacterial, occasionally fungal (10%)
- Acute circumscribed otitis externa: Synonymous with furuncle; associated with infection of the hair follicle, a superficial cellulitic form of otitis externa
- Chronic otitis externa: Same as acute diffuse but of longer duration (>6 weeks)
- Eczematous otitis externa: May accompany typical atopic eczema or other primary skin conditions
- Necrotizing malignant otitis externa: An infection that extends into the deeper tissues adjacent to the canal; may include osteomyelitis and cellulitis; rare in children
- System(s) affected: Skin/Exocrine
- Synonym(s): Swimmer’s ear
- Unknown; higher in the summer months and in warm, wet climates
- Predominant age: All ages
- Predominant sex: Male = Female
- Acute, chronic, and eczematous: Common
- Necrotizing: Uncommon
- Acute and chronic otitis externa:
- Traumatization of external canal
- Hot, humid weather
- Hearing aid use
- Eczematous: Primary skin disorder
- Necrotizing otitis externa in adults:
- Advanced age
- Diabetes mellitus (DM)
- Debilitating disease
- Necrotizing otitis externa in children (rare):
- Diabetes insipidus
- Avoid prolonged exposure to moisture.
- Use preventive antiseptics (acidifying solutions with 2% acetic acid [white vinegar] diluted 50/50 with water or isopropyl alcohol, or 2% acetic acid with aluminum acetate [less irritating]) after swimming and bathing.
- Treat predisposing skin conditions.
- Eliminate self-inflicted trauma to canal with cotton swabs and other foreign objects.
- Diagnose and treat underlying systemic conditions.
- Use ear plugs when swimming.
- Acute diffuse otitis externa:
- Traumatized external canal (e.g., from use of cotton swab)
- Bacterial infection (90%): Pseudomonas (67%), Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, gram-negative rods
- Fungal infection (10%): Aspergillus (90%), Candida, Phycomycetes, Rhizopus, Actinomyces, Penicillium
- Chronic otitis externa: Bacterial infection: Pseudomonas
- Eczematous otitis externa (associated with primary skin disorder):
- Contact dermatitis
- Purulent otitis media
- Sensitivity to topical medications
- Necrotizing otitis externa:
- Invasive bacterial infection: Pseudomonas, increasing incidence of MRSA
- Associated with immunosuppression