Author Topic: Ear infection?  (Read 2808 times)

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Ear infection?
« on: July 19, 2010, 10:47:02 am »
Hi folks,

Thought I'd put this here for a bit more advice maybe.

I'm currently in Düsseldorf, halfway through a month-long German course.

Yesterday, when I got back from a cycle ride, I found my left ear was a bit painful. At night it was really painful and I didn't want to lie on it.

This morning it's not as painful but still gives twinges. If I pull the earlobe I feel a bit of pain, and my jaw feels slightly odd. Occasionally it gives a bit of a sharp twinge, particularly if I yawn.

I'm a bit of an ear scratcher and two weeks ago got back into my 'itchy ears cycle' where I keep scratching 'em. I have also used cotton buds to clean 'em out (which I believe is a complete no-no) although not since I came to Düsseldorf.

I popped into an Apotheke (Chemist) and asked for advice. She sold me some ear drops, Otalgan, but said if it's no better tomorrow then I should go to a doctor. Now this will be extremely complex as I'll have to find an ear doctor (they don't have GPs in Germany) and, presumably, pay and then claim it back. Excessively complex.

Presumably if I were in the UK my doctor would either give me eardrops or antibiotics. Does anyone have any recommendations? Wikipedia and NHS Direct suggest these things often clear up on their own after a few days; is it OK for me to leave it a few days (using the drops) to see if it clears up before the complexity of a doctor's appointment in German?

When I get home I will dispose of the cotton buds, of course.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Oh, and 3 years ago I had itchy ears for 9 months and the nurse at my GP practice suggested various things to sort 'em out which eventually helped (dripping olive oil in there!) and so I imagine I am a bit prone to this kind of thing.
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake –


  • Just do it!
Re: Ear infection?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2010, 12:48:46 pm »
Ears really aren't my forte, but ear pain is the most severe I can recall.

If it hurts like hell, see a doctor however awkward this may be.
If you can live with the pain, wait.

I can't see your ears, but this sounds like otitis externa to me; the ear canal skin gets irritated, swollen and infected.
Keeping the canal dry is important.


Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Ear infection?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2010, 05:40:35 pm »
It doesn't hurt that much, fortunately, and seems to be improving (I put the drops in before lunch, will do some more in 5 mins or so).

I rang my GP from Germany to get his advice. I ended up speaking to the nurse (who happens to be a neighbour) despite Skype dropping the line several times (in the end I gave up and phoned her on my mobile. ££££)

Anyway, she suggested I give the drops 48 hours to see how it goes. I happen to have a full set of antibiotics here with me (Clindamycin) which I have for emergency use related to my humerus prosthesis. The nurse said that would be rather like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but might be a better option than going to a German doctor and explaining everything at length, plus having to pay. I think if it doesn't improve significantly by Wed lunchtime I'll phone my UK docs again and see if they think I should go ahead with the Clindamycin. I've carried this bottle of tablets around with me for years for just such an occasion as this.

Wikipedia suggests I should avoid washing my hair, so I didn't do so this lunchtime. I will have to do so tomorrow, however, otherwise it'll be just appalling!
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake –


  • Partial to a dash of chainsaw oil
Re: Ear infection?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2010, 05:43:59 pm »
Oh, poor you.  I am prone to ear infections and also eczema,  that makes  for a very itchy ear.  I burst one of my ear drums last year after swimming in a lake, it still isn't right.

Don't leave it too much longer.

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Ear infection?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2010, 05:52:51 pm »
An update.

Everything much much better today. The drops are clearly doing the trick.

YACF also came through as I had a PM from someone who knows a GP in Erkrath (about 10km from here) who could see me if necessary, although it doesn't look like I'll have to do that.

I can go back to washing my hair, which is a bit of a relief in this hot weather!
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake –


  • That's Councillor Regulator to you...
Re: Ear infection?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2010, 09:12:03 am »
I suffer badly from ear infections.  Each time I get a cold I get otitis media in my right ear and I've perforated it a number of times.  I'm currently off work and had to go to the doctor's yesterday for another round of antibiotics for an infection in my right ear.

Glad yours seems to have cleared up.  Ear infections are horrible....  :(
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Green Party Councillor