Infectious myringitis is an infection of the eardrum. The eardrum is a thin membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.
Infectious myringitis is an infection of the eardrum that usually follows a bacterial or viral ear infection. Vesicles, or small fluid-filled lesions, develop on the eardrum. The infection interferes with the normal function of the eardrum.
Symptoms of myringitis may include: drainage from the ear which may or may not be foul-smellingfeverhearing impairmentsudden onset of ear pain that lasts 24 to 48 hours
Myringitis is generally caused by an infection with bacteria or a virus. Sometimes, the infection starts in the eardrum. Most of the time, however, myringitis follows an infection in another part of the ear. Acute otitis media or swimmer's ear (otitis externa) can lead to secondary myringitis. Upper respiratory infections, such as the flu, sinusitis or pneumonia can predispose an individual to ear infections.
Some helpful measures to reduce the risk of myringitis include: avoiding prolonged immersion of the ear in water, such as a pool or hot tubimmunizing children and adults with flu and pneumonia vaccines as recommended staying away from individuals with upper respiratory infections washing hands often
Diagnosis of myringitis begins with a medical history and physical exam. The healthcare professional will use an otoscope, or lighted instrument, to look at the person's eardrum.
Most cases of myringitis go away without any long-term effects. In some cases, however, scarring or rupture of the eardrum can occur, which can affect hearing.
Some causes of myringitis are contagious and can be passed to others.
Treatment of infectious myringitis may include: antibioticsantibiotics together with steroid ear dropsear drops that provide local anesthesiaover-the-counter or prescription pain medicine given by mouthrupturing the vesicles on the eardrum with a myringotomy knife
Antibiotics and other medicines may cause allergic reactions, stomach upset, or rash.
In most cases, the eardrum returns to normal after successful treatment.
If the pain does not resolve promptly, medical attention is needed. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional.