Ear infections often needs treatment. Your ears have been itchy and sore and you have visited your GP. They have prescribed ear infection ear drops for you. These tend to be given for an outer ear infection, this is known as otitis externa. The drops often contain an antibiotic such as gentamicin with a steroid such as hydrocortisone. An antifungal such as vinegar may also be included. The drops act on the skin of the ear to treat and prevent infection.
Sometimes they don't work as well as you were hoping. it is important that they are applied properly. If you are standing up and put a drop in your ear it will probably run straight out onto your shoes. A build up of debris can also mean that the drops don't reach the right spot. Here's what to do. You might find it easier with someone helping you.
1) Make sure your outer ear is clean and free of debris. Don't push anything into your ear canal as this can make the problem worse by blocking the canal further up.
2) Lie on your side.
3) Put the drop in your ear.
4) Wait at least 3 minutes for the drop to soak in and take effect.
5) Allow the ear to dry.
If you have done this for two to three days and there is no improvement you need to visit your GP again. You may also have infection behind your ear drum; a middle ear infection. Ear drops not working may a sign of this.
If this is the case your doctor may also give you tablet antibiotics. Signs are severe pain, reduced hearing and a buildup of fluid behind the drum. The drum may also be bulging and less reflective. If there are signs of outer and middle ear infection then your doctor may give you both drops and tablets. Inner ear infections tend to be viral and not treated with antibiotic drops or tablets.
Earplugs may be enough to prevent the need for ear infection drops in some cases. If you are getting infections from water in your ears then wearing ZenPlugs moulded swimming earplugs from http://zenplugs.com/molded-earplugs/ will keep the water out of your ears. Wear them in the pool, the sea, the bath and the shower. This could be enough to prevent the problem. The chlorine in pool water can cause inflammation in the ears. Soaps, shampoos and chemicals contained in them can also cause the problem.
ZenPlugs are also antibacterial so kill the germs which cause infection. Foam ear plugs tend to harbour infection and are porous so are no good at blocking water. ZenPlugs are non-porous and keep water from the ears every effectively.
Please let me know in the comments box below if there are any topics you would like me to cover in future posts.
This post is not a substitute for medical advice. Make sure you visit your GP if you think you may have an infection or other disorders.
Dr Toby Bateson for ZenPlugs