Do you think you have an ear infection?
You may need our professional Ear Swabbing service.
If you have any of the following symptoms, there is a high chance you have an ear infection:
- Itching and irritation in and around your ear canal.
- Redness and swelling of your outer ear and ear canal.
- A feeling of pressure and fullness inside your ear.
- Scaly skin in and around your ear canal, which may peel off.
- Discharge from your ear, which can be either thin and watery or thick and pus-like (usually found on your pillow in the morning).
- Tenderness when you move your ear or jaw.
- Swollen and sore glands in your throat.
- Some hearing loss (usually temporary).
An infection in the ear can last for several months if not treated correctly.
If you think you have an ear infection, book an appointment with us for a quick and effective ear swab. By having the swab completed privately with us you will:
- Save your time.
- Save your GP’s time.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…
- Get the right antibiotics the first time around.
How do you catch an ear infection?
An infection in the ear (also known as otitis externa or otitis media) can be painful and irritable, it can affect your outer ear and external auditory canal (the tube between your outer ear and your eardrum), your middle ear (behind the eardrum and the tube that connects your ear to your throat), and they can affect ANYONE!
There are several different ways to catch an infection and therefore several different infections you can have. A standard antibiotic will not work with a majority of these infections, which will result in the infection taking months to clear and several visits to the GP.
An ear infection is more likely to develop through several environments, for example:
- Have you been on holiday to a warm climate?
- Have you been swimming in a pool?
- Have you used a sauna?
- Have you completed a good workout and got quite sweaty?
- Do you wear earplugs or in-ear headphones for long periods of time?
- Do you use cotton buds or do you excessively clean your ears?
All of the above provide an ideal environment in your ear for bacteria – and to a lesser degree, fungi – to grow!
Avoid increasing the risk of an ear infection
You can avoid increasing the risk of infection by avoiding certain products in or near your ears, such as:
- Hair sprays.
- Hair dyes.
- Earwax softeners (bicarbonate of soda).
And you are naturally more at risk if you suffer from the following:
- Skin conditions, such as:
- Allergic conditions, such as:
- A Weak immune system, such as:
- Or are undergoing a cancer treatment like chemotherapy.
Causes of an ear infection
There are several different causes of an ear infection, these can include:
- There are several different bacteria that can infect your ear canal. Usually, they are called Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus. These can affect your outer ear, but also your middle ear via a common cold.
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis
- This is a common skin condition where the naturally greasy areas of your skin become irritated and inflamed.
- There are several different fungi that will find your ear canal a lovely place to live. Most commonly found is thrush, this is usually the case if you have used an antibacterial drop for a long time.
How do you prevent an ear infection?
It’s not always possible to prevent infections, but you can reduce your risk of developing the condition.
- Avoid damaging your ears
- Don’t insert cotton wool buds or other objects into your ears. Earwax works its way out naturally and cotton buds should only be used to sweep around your outer ear.
If earwax build-up is a problem, have it removed by an Ear Wax Removal Specialist with us or our partners Hear4U.
- Keep your ears dry and clean
- Try not to let water, soap or shampoo get inside your ears when you wash them. Wear a shower cap while you shower or bathe if you don’t intend to wash your hair.
- After washing, dry your ears using a hairdryer on a low setting. Never push the corners of a towel into your ears to dry them, as this can cause damage.
- If you swim regularly, wear a swimming hat that covers your ears or use earplugs (but make sure you insert them carefully and don’t use them if they irritate your ears).