Otomycosis is a fungal infection of the ear, usually acquired in tropical regions. Nearly 60 varieties of fungus can cause the infection, but most often, laboratory tests reveal Aspergillus or Candida as the culprit. Careful cleaning and topical treatment will usually address the condition, but patients with chronic issues such as diabetes and skin conditions such as eczema may have more trouble treating the condition and preventing its return. Care should be taken to prevent further issues with the fungus beyond the skin, including mastoiditis and meningitis. Prevention involves drying the ears after swimming and possibly using ear drops.
Otomycosis can result from fungi such as Aspergillus or Candida infecting an ear already vulnerable from bacterial infection, injury, or a lack of protective earwax. It can also result from a simple, non-invasive growth of fungus on the inner skin of the ear. The condition is much more common in warm, humid, and tropical climates. Otomycosis is more likely to grow if the ear has been exposed to water by swimming in bodies of fresh water, but it can also grow in any kind of dampness including ocean water and even indirect exposure from surfing or other activities that don't require active submersion.
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