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Treatment for an outer ear boil depends on whether an infection is present. Typically, when a boil is the result of a bacterial infection, antibiotics are often prescribed. Generally, oral antibiotics are recommended, although topical antibiotic ointment or a combination of both can be given. In addition to antibiotics, warm compresses can be used to help ease the pain and soothe inflammation.
A boil on the outer ear is usually painful and causes significant inflammation. For the pain, people can opt to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug or acetaminophen. For best results, however, anti-inflammatories usually work better because they treat pain as well as inflammation. Acetaminophen pain relievers only relieve mild to moderate pain, and do not manage inflammation. Both types of medications have side effects, and patients may want to discuss taking them with a medical professional.
It can be tempting for some individuals to squeeze an outer ear boil, however, this can be dangerous. It can not only cause additional pain and swelling, it can contribute to a secondary infection. Only a healthcare provider should attempt to lance a boil, and only under sterile conditions. This is sometimes done to facilitate the drainage of pus and speed the healing process. After the procedure, the wound is typically covered with antibiotic ointment and covered with a sterile dressing.