Magazine article USA TODAY

Drops Preferred over Oral Antibiotics

Magazine article USA TODAY

Drops Preferred over Oral Antibiotics

Article excerpt

Antiseptic or antibiotic ear drops should be the front-line treatment for people suffering from swimmer's ear, while restraint should be exercised in using oral antibiotics, according to treatment guidelines issued by a panel of specialists that includes the chairman of Otolaryngology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

"The most important feature of these new guidelines is that they are entirely evidence-based," declares Peter S. Roland. "They do not depend on clinicians' opinions, but instead are based on what has been scientifically demonstrated in the medical literature."

Swimmer's ear, a condition formally called acute otitis externa, is an infection of the outer ear and ear canal, often resulting from water becoming trapped in the ear. Water can remove protective earwax, allowing infections to develop. It most often is found in swimmers, but can result from showering or bathing. Other causes can include cleaning or scratching the ear, as well as skin conditions such as psoriasis or acne.

Symptoms usually involve redness and swelling, itching, mild to moderate ear pain, particularly when moving the head, or a feeling that the ears are blocked. …

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