Excess moisture thins the cerumen--the thin film located on the skin in the ear canal--to break down, allowing bacteria to grow. Otitis externa can be caused by breaks in the skin that allow bacteria to grow.
Symptoms include: fluid drainage, redness or swelling, pain, altered ability to hear, flaky skin on the ear, and swelling of neck lymph nodes.
Examination with an otoscope by a physician may be adequate to receive a diagnosis. If the eardrum is damaged, a referral to an otolaryngologist may be required.
Treatment may include antibiotics, anitfungal medications or corticosteroids. An acidic solution may be prescribed to assist the ear canal in regaining its normal acidity.
To assist in the prevention of otitis externa an individual should keep the ear dry and refrain from putting foreign objects into the ear canal. According to the Mayo Clinic, should water enter the ear canal, a solution of one part rubbing alcohol to one part white vinegar can be administered into a wet ear canal in the amount of five milliliters and then drained to help prevent bacterial growth.
Article Written By Constance Lang
Constance attended Univerity of Wisconsin - Madison and has a Bachelors degree in psychology and Russian literature. She is currently working on her MFA via on-line courses. She has been a writer for over 25 years and has fictional short stories published at: chaos-dragon-blood.com, TheFirstLine.com, www.bloodmoonrising.com and Werewolf Magazine. She has over 200 published, non-fiction articles.