Acute Ear Infections may involve the external or middle ear. External ear infections (acute otitis externa) cause pain and swelling of the pinna and the canal of the ear. The pain can be severe, and movement or pressure of the pinna will cause pain. Acute Middle ear infections (acute otitis media) are also painful and common in young children suffering from colds or a sore throat. Such children usually wake up in the night with a severe earache.
Diabetic patients or those with kidney or liver failure are immune-compromised and these patients with external ear infections can have a rapid progression of the infection to involve the bone of the skull base, which is called as malignant otitis externa or skull base osteomyelitis. This is a very severe life-threatening infection and requires immediate diagnosis followed by prolonged medication, usually requiring admission in hospital.
External ear infections (acute otitis externa) are treated with oral medication and may require insertion of a medicated wick into the ear canal. This helps in relief from pain and early resolution of the infection.
Middle ear infections (acute otitis media) requires treatment for the cold and antibiotics are usually prescribed.
Malignant Otitis Externa requires a prolonged stay in the hospital and intra-venous antibiotic therapy to control the infection, and this could extend upto 6 weeks of treatment or longer.
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