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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Ear becomes red, itchy if exposed to low temperatures. Only in right ear. Cause?

Hi, My right ear lobe becomes red, itchy, and then swollen after I am outside in 20 degree (F) and below temperatures. All three times it has happened, I ve been outside with my ears uncovered for at least 10 minutes--or long enough for my ears to become pretty cold . I ve never had this problem on my fingers, toes, nose , or any other part of my body. I obviously have now learned to keep my ears covered but I would like to know what is causing this. It only affects my right ear lobe which swells to the size of a large pea. The first time it happened, I responded to the itchiness by scratching it which seemed to make the swelling worse--I m guessing because it increased the blood flow to the area(?) The other two times, I did not itch it and the swelling went down within 2-3 hours. Thanks for any information you have!
Tue, 10 Sep 2013
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ENT Specialist 's  Response
Hi, your problem may be related to Frost bite. It happens due to sudden stopping of oxygenated blood supply to the cold exposed body parts. if its not recognised and treated immediately, it may lead on to gangrene.
Try not to expose the body to cold weather. Cover up your body with warm clothes. If something happens, rush to your doctor for immediate attention.
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