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Infectious myringitis

Infectious myringitis is an infection that causes painful blisters on the eardrum (tympanum).

Alternative Names

Bullous myringitis

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Infectious myringitis is caused by the same viruses or bacteria that cause middle ear infections. It is often found along with the common cold or other similar infections.

The condition is most common in children but may be seen in adults.

Symptoms

The main symptom is pain that lasts for 24 - 48 hours. Other symptoms include draining from the ear and hearing loss in the painful ear. Rarely, the hearing loss will continue after the infection has cleared.

Treatment

Infectious myringitis is usually treated with antibiotics, either given as drops in the ear or by mouth. If the pain is severe, the blisters may be lanced and pain-killing drugs may be prescribed.

References

Guss J, Ruckenstein MJ. Infections of the external ear. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 137.

Haddad J Jr. External otitis (otitis externa). In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19thed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 631.

Updated: 5/16/2012

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.


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