Infectious myringitis is a contagious disease that causes painful blisters on the eardrum (tympanum). It may occur with a middle ear infection (otitis media).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Infectious myringitis is a viral or bacterial infection. It is usually a complication of a common cold virus. Rarely, it may be caused by an infection with mycoplasma pneumonia.
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.
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.
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.
Baum SG. Mycoplasma pneumoniae and atypical pneumonia. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 184.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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