If you have an itchy ear, go to the doctor
Holiday time is swimming pool time and thus high season for inflammation in the ear canal. So-called bathotitis can be prevented with simple means, unless there are organic causes. For example, regular rinsing of the ear canals and subsequent drying prevent the colonization. This is pointed out by the HNOnet NRW, an association of resident ENT doctors.
Dr. Uso Walter, chairman of the network, explains the background: “When bathing, water and bacteria inevitably get into your ear. In this warm, humid climate, the skin softens and germs penetrate more easily. ”The skin between the pinna and tympanic membrane becomes inflamed. In addition, the water rinses the protective lard film out of the ear. The first signs range from itching to sometimes severe ear pain. Later, purulent or bloody secretions from the affected ear are sometimes added. If you look into your ear, you will see red, swollen, dry and flaky skin. If ear canals swell, this may even impair hearing. If such symptoms occur, a visit to the otolaryngologist is indicated. He cleans the ear, treats the bathing tots with soaked gauze strips and possibly with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops. "Usually, bathotitis heals without complications within a few days," reassures Dr. Walter.
If you don't want to let it get that far, it is best to avoid bathing in polluted waters or to seal your ears with plugs or cotton wool greased with petroleum jelly. Rinsing the ear canals with clear water after swimming and then drying them with a hairdryer also help. Also avoid minor injuries in the ear canal, such as those caused by scratching with your fingernail or other sharp objects. Cotton swabs do not cause any injuries, but remove the important wax protection film that actually prevents ear infections. The same also applies to excessive cleaning with shampoo or soap. This increases the ph value in the ear canal and destroys the protective environment.
In the case of year-round ear infections, clarify the causes
However, if children suffer from painful ear infections all year round, an ENT doctor should clarify the cause to prevent possible late effects. There is a risk that fluid will accumulate in the middle ear or that the eardrum and the ossicles will grow together. This can affect hearing and language development. Triggers are usually poor ear ventilation due to polyps in the nasopharynx, allergies or colds. This makes it easier for bacteria or viruses to enter the middle ear from the nose and multiply there.