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Cellulitis of the Ear
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niffer2niff posted:
A few weeks ago I woke up with pain, redness and a small amount of swelling followed by the appearance of a puss pocket on the top part of my left ear. I went to the doctor the same day and he diagnosed it as cellulitis of the ear. He put me on Augmentin (an antibiotic) and told me to put warm moist compresses on it three times a day. By about a week later it was gone. It has now been two weeks with no problems. The doctor could not tell me what the cause might be nor how to prevent it from happening again. The doctor also said if it got ANY worse to immediately go to the emergency room, which really scared me. Today around 10:00 this morning, with no warning, the same thing occurred on my right upper ear. Everything I have read suggests this stems from a problem in the inner ear, but I have had no symptoms of anything other than the minor pain and redness at the sight with the puss pocket. This is more annoying than painful. I have no problem going to the doctor but I would prefer not to simply repeat the treatment with no explanation or hope of stopping it from coming back. Any information or advice is greatly appreciated.
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Cellulitis is basically a deeper "skin" infection, that just happens to be on the skin of your ear. It does not originate from problems in the inner ear. Infections of this type can quickly spread, and can be especially problematic anytime you have cellulitis anywhere on your face.

Did your doctor open or culture that area to see what TYPE of bacteria (strep? staph?) is causing it? Is the Augmentin helping? If the antibiotic is not really helping, then you should call or see your doctor again for patient-specific advice. It is really impossible for me to do this, since I have no way of seeing or examining you.
 
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anderson36 responded:
Hello, I have the exact same issue with my ear! I was placed on Augmentin as well, and two weeks later the problem has returned. I have visited a Doc.. and was advised that Augmentin is the strongest antibiotic and should've corrected the infection! I have been referred to seek treatment with a specialist! I see that your post is from several months ago, but I am anxious to know if your cellulitis was resolved!

In my case there is no drainage, so no cultures can be taken, there is swelling, which is blocking my ear canal and I am unable to hear clearly. I am not experiencing any significant pain but this is an annoyance. Is this really serious?????
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Cellultiis of the outer ear is really a SKIN problem...not usually considered an "ear problem" and it does not originate from the inner ear. Cellulitis can occur when anything breaches the integrity to of the skin....a rash, insect bite, scratch, etc. This will allow an opening for skin germs to penetrate.
 
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jwap77 responded:
I have an actual boil inside of my ear, the doctor put me on ciprodex but no other recommendations such as the other posts did with warm compresses. Although the warm compress does help alleviate the pain. I noticed on Thursday that I felt funny with my ear, and thought I felt like a pimple forming inside of my ear. By Friday late morning my jaw hurt to move and my inner ear felt like it was swelling and had some pain (more discomfort than actual pain). The dr gave me the drops to put in my ear twice a day, today it's feeling a bit better not much. The dr told me that my actual inner ear was white with redness surrounding the wall and what appeared to be a bump next to my drum. What will happen if the boil pops? Will I lose my hearing? Will I have any reoccurances? I am used to having boils but not inside of my ear.
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
I am surprised that you are not on an ORAL antibiotic - a more appropriate treatment for cellulitis. Ciprodex does not really penetrate intact skin.

If the boil is in your ear canal, as I assume, then if it ruptures, it will drain. It will not adversely affect your hearing. I have no idea if you will have reoccurences, however, since I do not know anything about you nor to I have a way of examining you to confirm this diagnosis.

Have you ever had one of these "boils" cultured?
 
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An_187418 replied to Rod_Moser_PA_PhD's response:
I just recently went to the ER to be checked out for what I thought was a possible bug bite and the doctor came to the conclusion that it was cellulitis of my left ear, the cartilage. I was put on antibiotics (cephalexin) and told to take motrin, and they did take a culture because there was some type of discharge. I was told to put warm compresses fpr 20min, 4 times a day. It hasn't even been 24hrs since I came back from the hospital, but I forgot to ask whether or not it's good to cover the area? In example, using a bandaid over the area after using the warm compress.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to An_187418's response:
If you have an open or oozing area, then a dressing may be helpful, otherwise you don't need to cover the area. Is is on your outer ear?
 
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milesingrams replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Hi, I have a bad repeating cellulitis infection on the tip of my nose. I usually never use online diagnosis websites but all the dermatologists I've gone to just give me antibiotics and tell me that's the solution. It comes about once a month in the exact same spot and after treatment with antibiotics will still remain slightly red until the next time it gets infected. The first time i got it was in Costa Rica and it went away without treatment. I got checked for nasal colonization and came up negative. what could possibly be causing it to repeat in the same place once a month. I've been making sure to keep it very clean and everything. Thanks!
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to milesingrams's response:
This is not an "on-line diagnosis website". As a matter of fact, I have no way of blindly diagnosing anyone over the Internet. I do not know anything about you, your medical history, or more importantly, I do not have any way of examining you or ordering diagnostic tests.

Recurrent cellulitis....in the exact same spot....could be an abscess that needs to be surgically removed. The next time that you get this infection, it may need to be opened and re-cultured. Knowing the bug will go a long way in orchestrating a cure. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are the treatment, but knowing the "bug" helps chose the "drug".

Is there any chance this started with an insect or spider bite while in Costa Rica?
 
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Melrenp responded:
I had a place on my ear just pop up one day. I am on generic Lamictal and a side effect is acne.Which I have had alot of since starting. I thought at first it was a weird pimple. The next day it had gotten bigger and itchy, and I developed a swollen lymph node on my neck so big that you could see it from the outside easily. Then came another one underneath that one just as big. I headed to the doctor and she said it was cellulitis and the lymph nodes were my bodies response to infection. She had put me on an antibiotic but later called to switch the kind? Anyway. I forgot to mention I had had some weird lump on my, well my arse if you will, for a long time but it has finally after months almost gone. This bump was skin colored. Also when in the last few days I ended up with a bump on my scalp too. What the heck is going on with me? I have other symptoms but, I'm wondering if there is any connection between the other two bumps, the medication, and any of my other symptoms not listed...and I'm wondering why she all the sudden decided to prescribe a different antibiotic today (the day I went in).
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Melrenp's response:
Your doctor probably ordered a "culture and sensitivity". In about two days, the culture will identify the type of bacteria (do you know what KIND that you had?) and the sensitivity report will tell your doctor which antibiotic would work the best. She probably started you on one while waiting for the test results, and then changed it to something better or more appropriate. This happens all of the time....

I have no way of determining if there is a connection, but those areas are still skin....and skin on the same person, so in that respect, there is a connection. Any skin infection should be evaluated individually.
 
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Vivianavery replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
I also have been diagnosed with cellulitis of the ear. I began cephalexin and abx/prednisone ear gtts 3 days ago. I still have a fever and actually feel worse now than I did the day I went to the dr. Should I be worried? I have to work tomorrow and currently cannot get out of bed for more than 10 minutes without feeling dizzy, nausea, tired and sick. I feel very very sick. When should I expect to feel better. I called my md office and they didn't seem concerned.
 
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sannacat replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Dr Moser, I know this is an old post but if you're still here, can you tell me what kind of doctor would be the best to diagnose an abscess causing recurring cellulitis? I think this may be what's happening to me. I developed cellulitis from an infected wound 2 1/2 years ago. Since then, it has recurred twice. There is a little lump under the scar from my first infection. Each recurrence happens seemingly out of the blue and begins at this spot, which eventually develops small blisters. My blood work is fine and I've never gotten cellulitis anywhere else. I asked my GP about the possibility of an abscess after the first infection and he ignored me. Since then, I've seen a dermatologist and asked for insight from an ER doc and and urgent care doc. No one has any idea why this is happening and no one has mentioned a potential abscess. I keep being told that maybe I'm just prone to getting it there - but I'm 36 and I never got it prior to my injury 2 1/2 years ago. It's very frustrating. I want to find a doctor who will actually look for an abscess. I am not sure if I shod see another GP or an infectious disease doctor. I've been told an infectious disease doctor is only a solution in cases more severe than mine. Thanks for any and all help.


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