• Common Ear Problems: Pharmacists Module 5, 2022

    The role of the pharmacist lies in identifying and assisting patients with ear disorders
    which can be managed in the pharmacy setting and those who require referral to the
    doctor.
    Disorders of the outer ear include infections such as otitis externa, injuries to the ear
    and blockages caused by earwax. Middle ear disorders include perforation of the
    eardrum, barotrauma caused by unequal air pressure on the two sides of the
    eardrum, and infections such as otitis media. Inner ear disorders may present with
    symptoms such as hearing loss, vertigo, tinnitus, and congestion. Ear infections are
    the most common ear problems seen in infants and children, while blockages
    caused by accumulated earwax are more likely to happen in older people.
    Although some common ear problems may be treated in the pharmacy with
    medicines available over-the-counter (OTC), it is not always possible to determine
    the underlying cause of the ear disorder without examining the inside of the ear.
    Unless the pharmacist is trained in clinical examination of the ear, diagnosis of an
    ear disorder should be made by a doctor, who can examine the ear.
    The pharmacist is in the key position to educate patients about the more common
    ear disorders, their risk and protective factors and how they are usually treated.
    The pharmacist is pivotal in ensuring that patients using medications for their ear
    problems use these medications safely and effectively.

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