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Ear Infection: Otitis Externa Essay

1422 words - 6 pages

External otitis is an infection of the skin covering the outer ear and ear canal. It is also known as swimmers ear. It is most often a bacterial infection caused by the streptococcus, staphylococcus, or pseudomonas bacteria. Acute external otitis is usually caused by excessive water (usually from water sports), trapped in the external ear canal by cerumen. This trapped moisture can cause the skin in the ear canal to become a breeding ground for bacteria. As always, any cuts or abrasions can leave the any part of the body, including the ear canal, susceptible to bacteria and infections. External otitis affects the ear and auditory system. Someone with swimmers ear may first notice that their ear may feel full and itchy. The ear will swell, and drain, and be very painful, especially to the touch. This condition can cause the side of the face to become swollen, the ear canal to swell shut; and can even cause difficulty with opening the jaw due to swelling within the lymph nodes. Swimmers ear can become so severe, that temporary hearing loss may be experienced in the effected ear. Chronic otitis externa is one that lasts more than four weeks or occurs more than four times a year. Standard treatments and preventative measures are often all that is needed to treat even a case of chronic otitis externa. However, this may not be the case in people with diabetes or those with suppressed immune systems. Chronic swimmer's ear can become malignant external otitis. “Malignant external otitis is a misnomer because it is not a tumor or a cancer, but rather an aggressive bacterial (typically Pseudomonas) infection of the base of the skull”. Otitis externa is most often identified by the symptoms it causes. Moisture and irritation will prolong the course of the problem. For this reason, the ear should be kept dry. “Scratching the inside of the ear or using cotton swabs should be avoided. This will only aggravate the irritated skin, and in most situations will make the condition worse. In fact, scratching the inside of the ear will just make the ear itch more, and any medications prescribed will be ineffective. The most common treatment consists of ear drops containing antibiotics or antibiotics with corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. Oral antibiotics may also be required in some cases. In some situations, a "wick" will need to be placed in the ear canal to stent it open and serve as a conduit for the ear drops. Periodic, and sometimes frequent, suctioning of the ear canal helps to keep it open, remove debris, and decrease bacterial counts”. (medicinenet.com, 2013)
“Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of chronic arthritis that occurs in joints on both sides of the body, such as both hands, both wrists, or both knees. This symmetry helps distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from other types of arthritis”. If a joint is deemed as arthritic that means that there is inflammation within the joint. Inflammation within a joint can cause swelling, redness, warmth and pain...

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