Mumbai: Fungal ear infection on the rise in summers, warn doctors

With the arrival of the summer season, there is an increased risk of fungal ear infections (otitis) in all age groups. In the grip of viral and vector-borne infections, there is also a surge in fungal ear infections. According to the doctors, they are treating around 40-45 patients monthly. Doctors believe that it is essential to get prompt treatment and protect against further damage to the ears. Limit exposure to loud noise, maintain good ear hygiene, and do not self-medicate.

Dr Prashant Kewale, ENT Specialist, Apollo Spectra Mumbai said a fungal ear infection called otomycosis is an infection of the ear due to the fungus which involves a canal that tends to run from the ear hole to the eardrum. The causes of ear infections are swimming in contaminated water, trauma to the ear, having diabetes mellitus, using cotton swabs and not removing ear wax inviting fungal growth.

“The main symptoms of fungal ear infections will be that the ear will become red, hearing loss, the skin of the ear will become scaly, there will be inflammation and swelling, ringing in the ears, muffled hearing, discharge from the ear, and pain. The diagnosis is carried out by examination in the OPD. The treatment includes ear drops and medication. Not treating at the right time can reduce the hearing temporarily due to fungal debris,” he said. “However I have been seeing 40 patients a month and it is common during summer and it is not connected with COVID,” added

Dr Shalaka Dighe, ENT Surgeon, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Mumbai, said ear pain is a common problem in children and the elderly. To prevent ear infections, take timely treatment for colds, avoid getting water into the ears, dry your ears after showering, avoid putting cotton buds or oil in the ear, avoid scratching ears as fungus can invade, and avoid using drops without a doctor’s prescription. “Ears have a natural self-cleansing mechanism. A small amount of wax is natural and has a protective role by trapping dust etc. Consult a doctor if there is a significant wax build-up. Avoid the use of ear-buds,” she said.

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