If your ear hurts to touch, you may have an outer ear infection (otitis externa). This infection of the outer ear and the ear canal is caused by bacteria or fungi that thrive in the moist, dark environment of the ear.
Symptoms of an Outer Ear Infection
You may have an outer ear infection if you experience the following symptoms:
- Itching in the ear canal
- Ear pain that gets worse when the ear is touched or pulled
- Redness and swelling of the ear canal
- Painful lump in the ear canal
- Drainage from the ear
- Hearing loss
- Swollen glands in the neck
While these symptoms are uncomfortable, an outer ear infection is usually not dangerous and can be treated effectively with antibacterial drops or oral antibiotics. However, people who have diabetes, weakened immune systems, and the elderly can develop malignant otitis externa. This is a rare, non-cancerous form of infection that can spread to the surrounding bones and be fatal if left untreated.
Causes of Otitis Externa
Otitis externa is often caused by prolonged periods of swimming, especially in bacteria-contaminated water. Several other conditions can contribute to outer ear infections:
- Skin disorders such as eczema or seborrheic dermatitis
- Inserting objects into the ear that can irritate or damage the skin in the ear canal, making it prone to infection
- Inadequate production of ear wax that protects the ear canal from infection
- Other irritants such as earwax removers, hair dyes, shampoos, or chlorinated water
Ear Infection Treatment at FastMed Urgent Care
The pain of an ear infection can make you miserable and can get worse without treatment. Get fast relief from the pain of otitis externa at your local FastMed Urgent Care.
We are open for extended hours during the week and see patients throughout the weekend. You never need an appointment, and we do our best to get you in and out and on your way in under an hour. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to learn more about FastMed Urgent Care in your community!
When your ear hurts to touch and you suspect an ear infection, visit your local FastMed Urgent Care for fast, high-quality, and compassionate care.
Don’t just take our word for it, though! Check out what Kim R. had to say about her experience: “Being sick stinks, but my experience at the urgent care clinic was top notch. ALL of the staff were kind, helpful, and good listeners. The medical center was much more attractive than the typical walk-in clinic and the service was amazing. If I had to feel bad enough to see a family doctor, at least I was fortunate to have a clinic like this one nearby. Thank you!!!”
Health Communities: http://www.healthcommunities.com/ear-infections/outer-ear-infection-otitis-externa