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Otitis Externa

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Otitis Externa (Swimmer’s Ear)

Otitis externa (swimmer’s ear), is an infection commonly caused by continuous exposure of the ear to water. Although swimmers and young children are most susceptible to getting it, anyone can contract it.


Symptoms of otitis externa can include:

  • Pus leaking out of the ear
  • Severe pain in the ear
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Itching within the ear

If presented with any of these symptoms, our clinicians can provide prescribed medication that can alleviate the symptoms and treat the otitis externa.

It is important to seek out medical help when experiencing any of these symptoms as otitis externa when left untreated, can result in growths, tears in the eardrum, or even a contraction of the ear canal.


Bacteria within the ear is the most common cause of otitis externa, although sometimes it can originate from a fungal infection.
This can be a result of:

  • allergies (i.e., certain medication and shampoo)
  • seborrhoeic dermatitis
  • irritation (e.g., headphones or earplugs)

Exposure to water and itching of the skin within the ear can provide an environment that facilitates further bacteria growth, speeding up the progression of otitis externa.


  • Swimmers can stop the onset of otitis externa by wearing a swimming cap and earplugs to shield the ears and protect them from developing bacteria. Even whilst having a shower it is important not to get water or shampoo into your ears in order to prevent any damage to sensitive internal skin and the development of otitis externa.
  • It is also of great importance not to insert anything into your ears. The insertion of fingers or cotton buds into the ear canal can increase the likelihood of developing otitis externa.


Although not a serious condition, otitis externa can often result in pain and discomfort. However, it is often easily treated with a course of antibiotics.
These include:

  • antifungal ear drops – to treat fungal infection
  • steroid ear drops – to reduce swelling
  • antibiotic ear drops – to treat a bacterial infection
  • antibiotic tablets – to treat a more severe bacterial infection

The sooner the treatment begins, the sooner symptoms will clear up and the need for stronger antibiotics and further damage to the hearing may be avoided.

Faheem Ahmed

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Visit us at:
158 Oxford Road
Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2LA
Contact us at:
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01865 689 149

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Jackie Nakate
Jackie Nakate
professional and lovely staff. The staff was super helpful and also called just to make sure I got my results without any mistakes.
Dimitris Kolokouris
Dimitris Kolokouris
Went for a fit to fly PCR test. The staff were incredibly polite and helpful. They took special care to get my flight credentials correct and had my test result to me within less than a day. They guarantee to get your result the next day (even over weekends). Overall good service, I would recommend.
Margherita Davoli
Margherita Davoli
I went today for a covid rapid- antigen test for travelling. Excellent service, they also gave me a pdf with the certificate for travelling, both paper and via email.
Elena Razzano
Elena Razzano
I went to the clinic for a Covid Swab test: the nurse has been very professional and careful, the service has been perfect, fast and the certificate compliant for the fit to fly. I highly recommend this service and I will definitely use it again.
Aloise Fiala-Murphy
Aloise Fiala-Murphy
Very good service, just did a PCR test for travelling. Helpful, on time and easy.
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Susanne Mecklenburg
Super service, competent, friendly, quick turn around of the results - really helpful. I can recommend it!
Michael Chipeta
Michael Chipeta
Had Covid-19 fit to fly test. Results came promptly, in record time. Impressed with the service.
Shengpan Zhang
Shengpan Zhang
Excellent service, very friendly and reliable
Kan Li
Kan Li
Excellent people to work with! Great service, prompt communication, flexible schedule, and very reasonable price. 100/100 recommend for all kinds of fit-for-travel testing.