What is the treatment of otitis externa?

  1. Mild and moderate otitis external can be treated locally with ear drops for 10 days. Combined steroid and antibiotic drops give the best results (e.g. Sofradex). Any debris should be removed with a cotton bud or syringing (water at body temperature) before instilling the ear drops. Locacorten-Vioform drops can also be used. The infection is usually cured by one week. Oral antibiotics are usually not needed. Swimming and showering should be avoided to keep the canal dry. Recurrence is common.
  2. With severe otitis externa the canal should be packed with a cotton wick soaked in ichthammol and glycerine to reduce the swelling. Then the infection can be treated as above.
  3. A boil in the external canal can be very painful and should be treated with oral flucloxacillin.

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