Otomycosis or, in other words, fungus in the ear, is a fungal infection of the external auditory canal. It is a common medical condition, caused by the fungus aspergillus or candida.
Causes and transmission of the infection
Ear is a favorable place for bacteria development, as it is likely to spread in dark, warm and humid environment. The disease is also referred to as Swimmers or Singapore ear, as it often occurs when water gets into the ear canal. The reason is that water washes off wax, which protects ears from infections.
Fungus may affect any person; however it is more spread in tropical climate. People suffering from diabetes or have decreased immune system are also at increased risk of being affected. Ear fungus is not a contagious infection; it also doesn’t spread to other parts of the body.
Signs and symptoms of the otomycosis
Otomycosis usually develops as any other fungal infection. Below are the main signs and symptoms of the disease:
- itching, pruritus and sometimes pain;
- feeling like the ear is blocked and desire to clean it;
- redness of the outer canal;
- mild greyish, yellowish or white malodorous discharges from the ear;
- buzzing in the ear;
- temporary loss of hearing;
- absence of wax is noticed while visual examination.
Diagnosis and treatment of the otomycosis
Otomycosis may be diagnosed by the visual examination with the otoscope. The diagnosis of the infection is confirmed by testing a swab. The treatment involves the following actions:
- At first the canal is cleaned and all fungal remains and discharges are removed with special vacuum suction (analgesics are applied prior to the cleaning if there is pain);
- Medical wick with antifungal medicine is inserted into the canal or antifungal drops are applied. Among the most effective medicines are clotrimazole, ketoconazole, gentian violet, tolnaftate, nystatin, and econazole;
- Antibiotics such as neomycin, hydrocortisone or colistin may be prescribed to be taken for 5-7 days in severe cases.
The treatment usually lasts for 1-3 weeks. During the treatment, preventing measures should be taken. Thus, water shouldn’t get into the ears, swimming should be avoided and shower should be taken in shower cap. Ears shouldn’t be cleaned with cotton wool buds.
Prevention of the otomycosis
Here is the list of measures that can help prevent otomycosis:
- practice personal hygiene: clean your ears regularly, but leave some wax, as it is the best natural defense against any infection;
- always dry your ears properly after having shower or swimming;
- if you feel that water remains in the canal, make it run out by patting the ears;
- if you have to swim too often, use plugs for ears;
- if you often visit swimming pool, instill into the ears antifungal drugs after each visit;
- fungal infection may also be prevented by instilling into the ears once in two month warm olive oil or white vinegar dissolved with warm water.
Although ear fungus is not a life-threatening disease and is treated easily with over-the-counted medicines, it is not recommended to practice self-treatment, as only doctor can clean ears in a proper way and prescribe the most efficient medicines. Moreover, if you clean the ear wrongly, you may damage it and provoke further development of the infection.
These articles can be used for informational purposes only. To get an accurate diagnosis consult your doctor!
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