Steep rise in ear infections with onset of monsoon

New Delhi: Many people are complaining of fungal and bacterial ear infections, and the number has seen an uptrend during the rainy season. To avoid ear infections, keep your ears clean and manage red flags like reduced hearing, pain, and watery discharge, say experts.

Monsoon is pleasing, but it also brings a plethora of health problems with it. Ear infections are a common occurrence in monsoon. They can impact any part of the ear that is the inner, middle, or even the external ear. During monsoon, rain and contaminated water entering the ear invites fungal infections.

Likewise, increased humidity is the perfect condition for bacteria and fungus to grow. Moreover, debris in the ear and minor bruises from earbuds can also raise your risk of ear infections. Cotton buds, sticks may contain fungus, and once you put it in your ear, it starts growing there.

Dr. Purva Lunavat ENT Specialist, Apollo Spectra Pune says, "Those with ear infections may have symptoms like choked ears, inability to concentrate that affects productivity, irritation, and disorientation, itchiness, earache, decreased hearing, watery discharge, dizziness, severe headaches, and even fever. Compared to previous years, patients with ear infections are coming to the hospital for treatment even before the onset of rains this year. Generally, 7 to 8 new patients come to the outpatient department every day for treatment. The treatment for ear infections is cleaning of the wax buildup in which leads to infection, go to a doctor who will clean the ear. You will be asked to use ear drops to dissolve the ear wax and clean out the infection."

Dr. Lunavat added, "Do not put anything in your ears to clean them, as this may cause infections and injuries. Try to wipe your outer ears with a clean cloth to avoid fungal infection while swimming. Clean earphones when you get drenched in the rain. Don't put cotton swabs in the ear as they may trap bacteria in the ear. After a shower, dry your ears with a clean dry cloth. If you use headphones to listen to the music, use a disinfectant to clean it regularly. Get your ears checked by an ENT specialist after you notice ear pain. It may take around a week to clear out an ear infection, but if it still doesn't get better then consult a medical practitioner who may also advise surgery."

According to Dr Devyani Shinde, ENT specialist, Apollo Clinic, Pune, "Every year during the monsoons, there is an increase in the number of patients with ear fungus and infection. A fungal infection of the ear is called otomycosis, and this disease mainly affects the ear. Moisture in the ears during the rainy season increases the risk of fungal infections. Patients with the ear pain are currently coming for treatment in large numbers due to the fungal infection in the ears during the monsoon. About 100 patients come to me every month for treatment of ear problems, and around 50 of these patients have a fungus ear infection."

Dr Shinde adds, "Fungus is not so serious, but, it should not be ignored. Consult a doctor immediately, and who will prescribe medication and eardrops, and after five days, the ear is cleaned and the fungus is removed. In order to prevent ear fungus in the rainy season, keep the ears clean and dry after bathing. Avoid using earbuds to remove earwax. In addition, due to the humidity in the rain, excess consumption of cold drinks can affect the ears causing throat infection as the eustachian tube that connects the throat and the ear gets blocked. Therefore, the chances of getting ear infections are high. Cold and sour foods should not be eaten during the rainy season. In addition, if you have a throat infection, drinking tea, coffee or soup reduces the risk of ear infections. Many suffer from ear pain and ear blockages. However, ear infections can be different in each patient."

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