(Article in the METRO newspaper)
Summer has come for good this year and the combination of the already high temperatures with the possibility of natural coolness offered by our beautiful country, is the best choice for everyone, the nearby beaches and the sea. But always with the necessary care and precautions so that we can enjoy the admittedly most beautiful season of the year. One of the most common diseases of the summer is otitis externa.
Otitis externa is an infection of the skin in the external auditory canal, ie the external ear canal. It is also called otitis of swimmers because swimmers get it very often in the summer at sea or in the pool, especially if they stay for a long time. The moisture created in the outer ear canal is a very good factor for the growth of germs or even fungi. When water enters the ear it can carry germs or fungi into it. It usually comes out on its own right away, the ear dries out so germs and fungi do not cause any problems. Sometimes, however, the water remains trapped in the ear canal and the skin soaks. Then germs and fungi grow, multiply and can cause inflammation in the outer part of the ear, ie otitis externa. Other causes of infection are canal minor injuries (use of sharp objects such as keys or the finger or foreign bodies).
Otitis externa is usually initially manifested by a feeling of heaviness, pressure of hearing and itching (itching), followed by local pain, and intense tenderness to the touch. Then the ear canal swells and sometimes becomes blocked. The ear begins to run and produce a milky fluid. If treatment is delayed and the disease begins to spread to areas adjacent to the ear, then the condition can become alarming.
We must always dry the area after swimming (clean towel or use a hair dryer). Be careful not to use a cotton swab in the ear canal. If we feel that there is water we can use 1-2 drops of white alcohol and / or vinegar. Thus the acidic environment inhibits the growth of germs and fungi.
In case of the above symptoms you will need Otolaryngological treatment. A microscopic assessment of the ear should be done to determine the type and cause of inflammation. Then frequent cleaning of your ear and appropriate treatment with ear drops. Sometimes oral antibiotics are needed. It also often, especially in the summer months, occurs, the entry and confinement of bugs, insects, etc. As an immediate treatment you can throw lukewarm water or even better a few drops of alcohol. Then do not try to remove it yourself as it does for any type of trapped foreign body. The clinical assessment and treatment by an ENT doctor she is necessary.
Konstantinos Makripidis, Doctor, ENT