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"Do I have an ear infection?"

ZocdocAnswersDo I have an ear infection?


kay so yesterday I had felt crust in my ear. So I got a q tip and cleaned it out. But then later on tonight, I felt it had returned. So I cleaned it out again, only to discover there is something white in it's place. I got alcohol and tried to clean it out, but it's still there and it sizzled. Do I have an infection?


Thank you for your question, and I recommend that you speak with your doctor. Ear infections, in general, come in two distinct types. The first is what is known as swimmer's ear, and is an infection of the outside of the ear, or the ear canal. This sort of infection is quite common, as the name suggests, in those who spend some extra time in water, as one of the most common bacteria that causes the infection is commonly found and proliferates readily in standing water (pseudomonas aeruginosa). It can be a quite serious infection in those who are immune compromised, such as diabetics and those on chronic steroids, and can even become life threatening. For most people, however, it is simply painful and requires antibiotics and a good clean-out from an ear nose and throat surgeon to get back towards improvement. The other kind of infection is more common in kids and those with small eustachian tubes or obstruction of the eustachian tube, and is known as a middle ear infection. These can be quite painful, and often affect hearing. Antibiotics by mouth are sometimes needed. If you are concerned that you may have an ear infection, please speak with your doctor about the symptoms that you are describing.

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