Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it true that ear fungus can kill you?"
I think I have ear fungus and am going to get it treated by a doctor soon. But I'm scared now because I heard that it can spread to your brain and kill you or cause brain damage if you don't catch it quickly enough. Is that true?
The general description of ear fungus is broad, but I think I can answer your question. Fungal infections other than that of the skin are usually fairly well contained by the immune system in normal people. For this reason, most fungus infect our skin and the skin around the ear or within the ear canal is no exception. Fungal infections in this area are usually caused by candida, the fungus that causes the so-called yeast infections. Infections such as this can usually be treated with topical antibiotics, or in very severe cases, oral antibiotics. While there is always the theoretical possibility that an infection of the skin could spread into the bone or blood and subsequently the brain, this type of spread is very uncommon. In fact, it is almost never seen except in those patients who do not have a normal immune system. If you think you have any type of ear infection, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a close look at your ear and determine if it is a fungal infection or bacterial infection (if either). From there, you can get the proper treatment to be sure it does not spread or get worse.
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