Ear drops are given to patients with any disease affecting external ear specially. They can also be given to the patients who are having the infection of middle ear with possible tympanic membrane perforation.
Are all ear drops safe?
Ear drops are safe generally if the tympanic membrane is intact. If the membrane (ear drum) is not intact, then only use the ear drops that are prescribed by your doctor. Also, use ear drops prescribed by your doctor even if your ear drum is intact!
What do ear drops contain?
Ear drops can have many different medicines in them. Most commonly used ones are antibiotics and steroids. They can also be found together in the same medicine too.
Role of antibiotics in ear drops
The antibiotics in the ear drops help your body to fight against the harmful bacteria. They can be in external ear canal, tympanic membrane or internal ear.
Role of steroids in ear drops
The steroids help in reducing the inflammation in your ear canal and tympanic membrane.
The discomfort and pain caused in the external ear canal is mostly due to the presence of infection or inflammation. Antibiotics and steroids help in reducing this discomfort. They do that by reducing both ear infections and also inflammation in the ears.
Remember that pain is the primary presenting complain for a lot of patients. So settling pain and discomfort is an important part of management.
Make sure Tympanic membrane is intact
Before advising any ear drops to a patient, make sure that the tympanic membrane is intact. Otherwise, the medicine will enter the middle ear. The medicine can cause further damage in some situations, especially if it is not intended for middle ear infections.
Duration of use of ear drops
Mostly patients stop using the medicine as soon as their pain subsides. This is a wrong practice and can cause the reinfection. Not only that, the reinfection can be more severe as the bacteria might have developed resistance too. Therefore, use the ear drops as prescribed by your doctor, for the complete duration as advised. Stopping the course of antibiotics via any route can lead to antibiotic resistance.