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Have swollen, red, hot and itchy outer ears and hairline. Prednisone hasn't worked and on antibiotic. Suggest?

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Practicing since : 2006
Answered : 2015 Questions
Hello, I have swollen, red, hot and itchy outer ears as well as along the hairline. This has been going on for 2 weeks. Prednesone has not worked, and have been on antibiotics now for a day. I have no diagnosis as of yet. This is extremely uncomfortable.
Posted Thu, 3 Oct 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 12 minutes later
Brief Answer:
It could be some variant of dermatitis

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing to us.
Going by the short description you have provided, it could be
seborrheic dermatitis- if this area is red and has greasy scales
allergic dermatitis- due to some allergen. could be red, bumpy and scaly.
insect bite induced itching and burning- area could be red dry with small blisters

Usually in allergic or seborrheic dermatitis, oral prednisone helps. As you did not have much response with the same, it is important to know the dose and duration of prednisolone taken.

I would appreciate if you would let me know
since how long are you having this
dose and duration of prednisolone and name of antibiotic prescribed
description of lesion- scaly, bumpy, pus filled, oozing
any history of contact with any allergen esp any new ear drop used or earrings worn.
if having scalp dandruff
if there is any history of insect bite

please upload an image of affected area too.

in the interim, please take tablet cetirizine twice daily and apply hydrocortisone cream.
Hoping to hear from you soon.
Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have swollen, red, hot and itchy outer ears and hairline. Prednisone hasn't worked and on antibiotic. Suggest? 29 minutes later
I was on 50mg of predsinone, 1 tablet for 3 days and 1/2 for 4 days. I also have clotrimazole 1%that I apply twice daily.
The last doctor has given me a prescripition for cephalexin, 500 mg, 1tablet 4 times daily for 7 days. I started it at 11:30 am yesterday and no improvement today at4:30 pm. I am wondering about cellulitis although I don't feel sick.
Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 23 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please read a detailed answer below.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing back.
You took prednisolone in high dose for short while. Now ideally had it been seborrheic or allergic dermatitis, it should have responded to prednisolone.

If we think of it as an inflammatory swelling, then there could be a possibility of having an ear infection( otitis media) or impacted wax which could have led to swelling of external ear but in such case there should be some earache or ear discharge. The same can be ruled out in your case by ear examination.
Cellulitis too can be a remote possibility
Now these two conditions should respond to antibiotic. As you have started it since yesterday only, so response might need some time. Also for better response I would suggest that you take oral antihistamine like cetirizine and an oral inflammation reducing pain killer like Brufen.

Hope this helped.
Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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