Ear Infection - Otitis Externa

WHAT IS NORMAL?

The outer ear canal is a tunnel that runs from the ear hole to the eardrum. It is about 3 cm long and is lined with normal skin containing hairs and glands that produce wax. The outer ear canal is a blind, closed tunnel and normally drains only through the ear hole.

WHAT IS OTITIS EXTERNA?

Otitis externa is a condition in which the skin lining the outer ear canal becomes red and swollen due to infection. This infection occurs commonly because of water entering the ear canal and it is sometimes referred to as swimmer’s ear. In the tropics, the heat and high humidity cause to people to perspire excessively in summer, and this moisture may also play a part in otitis externa or tropical ear.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Pain and tenderness of the ear canal are typical, and in severe cases the pain and tenderness may spread to the outer ear and surrounding skin. Other symptoms include discharge from the outer ear canal, itching and reduced hearing.

WHY DOES IT OCCUR?

Water entering the outer ear canal can drain only through the ear hole. The outer ear canal is horizontal and curved; it may contain wax. Water may not drain freely and can cause skin to become soggy, so allowing bacteria or fungi, normally present on the skin, to cause infection.

WHO IS MORE PRONE TO OTITIS EXTERNA?

You are more likely to suffer from otitis media if your outer ear canal is narrow or long, or if the skin lining the canal is in a poor condition, that is, if it is not waterproofed by the wax and is wet by regular swimming. Incidentally, chlorinated fresh water is more damaging than salt water.

The skin lining will deteriorate too if it is prone to dermatitis or eczema and if exposed to chemicals, example hair shampoo, hair dyes, and ear ointments. The ear canal can be damaged by attempting to clean it with a hairpin.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?

The basis of successful treatment is to clean the canal and keep it empty and dry. In mild cases your Dr will treat the infection by cleaning the outer ear canal using suction or a probe and then prescribing cream to insert several times a day. The ear cream is used about 5 days and contains chemicals that kill bacteria or fungus causing the infection.

If the infection is severe and the outer ear canal is swollen, the Dr may insert a cotton wick coated with the healing cream into the ear canal.

HOW CAN OTITIS EXTERNA BE PREVENTED?

You can take a number of steps to prevent otitis externa. Among them are:

  • Avoid getting water into your ear
  • If water enters, shake it out or use Aquaear drops
  • Use moulded earplugs or a bathing cap when swimming
  • Use earplugs or a cap when showering
  • Use earplugs when washing your hair
  • Coat cottonwool with Vaseline petroleum jelly before insertion in ears
  • Avoid poking objects such as hairpins and cotton buds in the ear to clean the canal.

The ear usually cleans itself naturally. Do not attempt to clean it and risk infection of the canal or damage to the eardrum. If you have a problem, contact your Dr for advice and treatment.

Please seek Medical attention as soon as possible if you are unsure of you or your family's health condition.


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Flu Subsidy Scheme eligible for Singaporeans & PRs (Pay subsidized rate of $10 for Consultation and Treatment) & Merdeka Generation /Pioneer Generation seniors (Pay subsidized $5) for patients with Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs).

Ear, Nose & Throat Problems


Up to $400 per Medisave Account per year can be used for Vaccinations under the National Adult & Childhood Immunisation Schedule - Influenza, Pneumococcal (PCV13/PPSV), Human Papillomavirus (HPV2/HPV4), Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis (Tdap), Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) and Chickenpox (Varicella).

Part of MOH's Swab & Go Home programme. Our clinic can carry out the COVID-19 Swab test for anyone who meets the MOH medical criteria. All individuals aged 13 and above, diagnosed with ARI will be COVID Swab-tested. Cost of Swab test to be borne by Ministry of Health Singapore.

Part of the National Influenza Sentinel Surveillance programme with MOH. If you have a fever of > 38 degrees with a cough, our clinic is able to test for COVID-19. For children below 12 years old with clinical diagnosis of HFMD (eg fever, oral ulcers, rash), our clinic can test for Hand Foot & Mouth Disease (The tests are for surveillance purposes only).


Health Assessment & Screening Packages


Co-infection of COVID-19 with other infectious diseases is possible.

Reduce your risk of getting sick with COVID-19

  • Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. People older than 65 years, and those with many underlying conditions, such as those who are immunocompromised or with significant liver disease, are recommended to receive vaccinations against Influenza and pneumococcal disease (PCV). Click here for Vaccination schedules (NAIS/NCIS).
  • Do not delay getting medical care for your underlying condition because of COVID-19. MD International Medical Centre has contingency MOH infection prevention protocols to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care for your underlying condition.
  • Continue your medications and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your doctor.
  • Make sure that you have at least a two-week supply of your chronic disease medications.
  • Call MDIMC @ Tel: 6694 1661 for a medical appointment if you have any concerns about your underlying medical conditions or if you get sick. Our clinic is a PHPC-accredited medical clinic. Under the MOH Swab & Go Home programme, our doctors can do a COVID-19 PCR Swab test if you meet the MOH medical crtieria.

Asymptomatic patients may not display no symptoms of illness. Vulnerable people should get vaccinated against Influenza as the stop gap until the COVID vaccine is found. The Flu vaccine would protect susceptible people from, as well as exclude the Flu and H1N1 viruses should they start to show URTI or ARI symptoms.

- Latest Influenza Vaccine

The latest Influenza Vaccine is now available. It protects against the Flu and H1N1 Viruses. In the event that a person displays flu-like symptoms after the Flu vaccination, both Flu and H1N1 may be excluded in his diagnosis, and treatment can be sought quickly should the patient have contracted COVID-19.

Ministry of Health Safety protocols are adhered to at all times for the safe vaccination of you and your family.

* Latest COVID-19 Updates & Health Tips

* Importance of Keeping your Vaccinations Up-to-date

Up to $400 per (Parent's) Medisave Account per year can be used for Vaccinations under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule - Influenza, Pneumococcal (PCV13/PPSV), Human Papillomavirus (HPV2/HPV4), Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis (Tdap), Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) and Chickenpox (Varicella).

National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) Singapore @ MD International Medical Centre. Make your child's vaccination appointment at Tel: 6694 1661


These other webpages below may also interest you, click to learn more about your health condition.

Eye & Ear Problems


How a Gluten-free Diet can Improve your Chronic Illnesses

Healthy Diets for Optimal Health


MD International Medical Centre

Medical Services available :


Public Health Preparedness Clinic

National University Health System Primary Care Network

Singapore Ministry of Health Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP)

The information provided in this website is for knowledge purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice.

Should you encounter any medical problem that you are unsure of, always consult your doctor or health care provider for assistance and medical advice.

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9 Taman Serasi #01-11, Botanic Gardens View

Tel : 65-6694-1661  Fax : 65-6694 1771

Email : contact@mdimc.sg

Clinic hours:

Monday to Friday: 9am-12.30pm / 2pm-6.30pm    Saturday: 9.30am-1pm

*Last registration is 30mins before the closing time

Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays

- Cashless service with most International Insurance companies and Insurance Medical cards are accepted

- Japanese & Mandarin-speaking Doctors and Medical staff

Please contact us at Tel: 6694 1661 to make an appointment.

Please make an appointment for the following at Tel: 6694 1661:

* Minor Surgical Procedure

* Health Screening / Blood Test

* Dermatology Treatment

* Allergy Testing

* Pain Management & Treatment

* Vaccination

* Supervised COVID ART Test / Pre-Event Test

* Pre-Departure PCR Swab Test / Serology Testing


OUR MEDICAL TEAM

Dr Don Lau – Medical Director

MBBS (Monash), B Med Sc (Hons) (Monash), Dip Pract Derm (Wales, UK)

Fujiwara Takanori

The Chiropractic Association Singapore, Japan Chiropractic Register, American Chiropractic Association, California Chiropractic Association

Physiotherapy-trained NBCE The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners

YAMAGATA Chihiro 山懸千尋

Registered Psychologist

MD International Medical Centre

Medical Services

Minor Surgical Procedures :

·       Injection for Supraspinatus or Bicipital Tendonitis / Epicondylitis / Trigger finger / Plantar Fasciitis

·       Tendon Sheath Injection

·       Excision of small Skin tumours / Lipomas / Nail bed / Ear lobe cysts / Meibomian cyst

·       Removal of Skin sutures / Skin tags / Sebaceous cysts / Various foreign bodies / Corneal foreign body

·       Liquid Nitrogen Therapy

·       Treatment of Plantar Warts / Calluses / Corns / Ganglions

·       Splinters under nails

·       Olecranon and Pre-patellar Bursitis

·       Ear syringing

·       Embedded earring stud

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