Otitis Externa

ExitCare ImageOtitis externa is a germ infection in the outer ear. The outer ear is the area from the eardrum to the outside of the ear. Otitis externa is sometimes called "swimmer's ear."


  • Put drops in the ear as told by your doctor.

  • Only take medicine as told by your doctor.

  • If you have diabetes, your doctor may give you more directions. Follow your doctor's directions.

  • Keep all doctor visits as told.

To avoid another infection:

  • Keep your ear dry. Use the corner of a towel to dry your ear after swimming or bathing.

  • Avoid scratching or putting things inside your ear.

  • Avoid swimming in lakes, dirty water, or pools that use a chemical called chlorine poorly.

  • You may use ear drops after swimming. Combine equal amounts of white vinegar and alcohol in a bottle. Put 3 or 4 drops in each ear.


  • You have a fever.

  • Your ear is still red, puffy (swollen), or painful after 3 days.

  • You still have yellowish-white fluid (pus) coming from the ear after 3 days.

  • Your redness, puffiness, or pain gets worse.

  • You have a really bad headache.

  • You have redness, puffiness, pain, or tenderness behind your ear.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.