Fungal infection in the ear is a very common problem due to which many patients come to me in my OPD.
Today in this BLOG we will talk about this problem which is also called OTOMYCOSIS in the medical language.
The human ear is divided into three parts:
1. OUTER EAR
2. MIDDLE EAR, and the
3. INNER EAR
Fungal infection or otomycosis is an infection of the outer ear in which fungus can accumulate and infect any part of the ear canal.
Fungal infection of ear can be of two types (CLASSIFICATION OF OTOMYCOSISS):
1) The first is the SUPERFICIAL TYPE which is the most common type of fungal infection in which the fungus infects the skin of the ear canal.
2) And the second is the INVASIVE TYPE which is a RARE type of infection, in which the fungus infects the bone of the ear (which is called the TEMPORAL BONE).
In what conditions Otomycosis or fungal infection of the ear is common?
(or RISK FACTORS FOR EAR FUNGAL INFECTION)
1. Otomycosis is more common in people who live in either Hot or Humid places
2. During the RAINY SEASON there is more moisture as well as fungal spores in the air hence, due to the more moisture in the surrounding air, the ear canal also has moisture which can lead to fungus infection in the ear.
3. If water gets into the ear while BATHING or SWIMMING, it can cause fungus in the ear.
4. If a patient has a DISCHARGING EAR which could be due to eardrum perforation, the ear remains wet due to the presence of pus or discharge and due to staying wet, the risk of fungal infection in such ear increases.
5. If the patient uses EARBUDS, MATCHSTICK, or any object to itch in the ear, then the patient can still have a fungal infection of the ear.
6. People who have DIABETES are also more prone to fungal infections
7. Such patients who have either dandruff in hair which is medically termed as SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS, or such patients who have a skin disease named PSORIASIS are also more prone to fungal infection.
8. It has been seen that if a patient is using ANTIBIOTIC-STEROID drops in the ear for a long time without medical advice, then the risk of fungal infection of the ear is more than normal in that patient too.
COMMON FUNGUS THAT CAUSES MAJORITY OF FUNGAL INFECTION OF EAR ARE-
1) Aspergillus niger and
2) Candida albicans
SYMPTOMS OF EAR FUNGAL INFECTION-
1) Itching in the ear
3) Ear discharge or pus
4) A feeling of heaviness in the ear, and
5) Hearing loss
Are the main Symptoms of Otomycosis.
DIAGNOSIS OF EAR FUNGAL INFECTION (OTOMYCOSIS)-
Any ENT surgeon can confirm that you have fungus or otomycosis in the ear very easily by doing an OTOSCOPY of your ear.
There is usually no need for any major investigation in this.
TREATMENT OF EAR FUNGAL INFECTION (OTOMYCOSIS)-
1) The first step in the treatment of fungus is to clean the ear fungus thoroughly by the ENT surgeon.
2) After cleaning, the patient is given Antifungal Ear drops, which are to be put in the ear 2 to 3 times a day for 5 to 7 days.
3) Oral medicines are also given to the patient according to the need of the patient for his pain and itching in the ear.
PRECAUTIONS FOR A OTOMYCOSIS PATIENT-
(What are the important things the patient has to keep in mind during the treatment?)
1. The patient should take care that he should not swim or get wet in the rain.
2. The patient has to keep his ear completely dry and take care that water does not get in the ear while bathing.
3. For this, the patient can take a cotton plug and apply oil or cream like Vaseline, coconut oil, boro line, boro plus, etc. so as to lubricate the cotton.
This is necessary because the water seeps inside the dry cotton, but the water does not enter the ear in this lubricated vaseline or oil-dipped cotton.
4. If still water gets into the ear while bathing, then a hair dryer can be used.
Keep the hair dryer at an appropriate distance from the ear (at least 30 to 40 cms away) and set the hair dryer to the lowest mode and turn it on.
Allow the warm air to blow on the ear for 30 to 40 seconds. The warm air coming from the hair dryer dries out the water and moisture in the ear and the fungus does not get a moist place to grow.
5. The patient should not scratch his ear with any external object such as earbud, matchstick, or even with his own finger
5. Do the full course of medicines given by the ENT surgeon and make sure that you go for a follow-up visit to the doctor after the course is over.
6. It is important to see a doctor because fungus infection is sometimes very stubborn and may require repeated cleaning of the ear canal to remove the fungal debris for a long time because even the smallest spore of fungus has a complete ability to reproduce into a full-fledged fungus.
PREVENTION OF EAR FUNGAL INFECTION-
(What are the measures one can follow to avoid Otomycosis?)
1) Keep in mind that while swimming, use EAR PLUGS so that water does not get into the ear.
2) Diabetes patients should keep proper control of their blood sugar
3) Do not put any type of ear drops in the ear without medical advice
4) Do not scratch the ear with an earbud, matchstick, or even finger.
So in this BLOG, I have tried to tell you in detail all the information related to fungal infection of the ear which is also known as Otomycosis, still, if I have missed something or you have any questions in your mind then ask me in the comment section below. I will try my best to answer all.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER:
This blog including information, content, references, and opinions is for informational purposes only.
The Author does not provide any medical advice on this platform.
Viewing, accessing, or reading this blog does not establish any doctor-patient relationship.
The information provided in this blog does not replace the services and opinions of a qualified medical professional who examines you and then prescribes medicines.
And if you have any questions of medical nature, please refer to your doctor or the qualified medical personnel for evaluation and management at a clinic/hospital near you.
The content provided in this blog represents the Author’s own interpretation of research articles.