Wound Care – Part 8 “Ear Injuries”
For the 8th installment of Wound Care we will focus on Ear Injuries and the potential risks that may come with them, Ear injuries may look minor, but there may be some serious complications if they go untreated. Common questions we hear within our first aid course are “What if there’s an odd colored liquid coming from the ear? Should I pull something out of the ear if its lodged in place? Can bugs crawl into my ear while I’m sleeping? Lets focus on the basics and fill in the questions as we go….
- -Impact against the ear with any force
- -Cuts or tears
- -Head Injury
- -Loud Noises “Explosions / Gun Shots / Machinery / Tools“
- -Objects or substances in the ear “May be lodged“
- -Wear PPE or Personal Protective Equipment when available
- -During Sports activities wear a helmet if ones is recommended
- -Proper hearing protection is recommended when around loud noises or equipment “Concerts / Lawn Mowers / Chainsaws“
What it Looks Like:
- -Blood or “Other” fluid from with the ear
- -Hearing Problems “ringing in the ear or high pitch squeal“
- -Sudden pain in the ear that may be intense
- -Swelling or deformity
How to Help:
1) Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / Circulation” REMEMBER – Wear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids.
2) Call 911 if you suspect the injuries could be severe like head neck or spine injuries, if their airway could be blocked or there is an impaled object in or near the ear, or if “the ear is leaking a clear fluid that dabs yellow on tissue” This may be an indicator of internal injury within the head “Seek Medical Attention Immediately” Also seek medical attention immediately if the ear injury is from an “Explosion” or “Diving” injury.
3) Care for the Ear Injury by:
**Foreign Object / Substance in the Ear with NO head and/or spine injury & the object looks like it can be easily removed**
4) if you can see the object and it looks easy to remove without causing further damage, remove it by tilting the head to the affected side, then gently tap above the ear to loosen the object.
5) Attempt to grasp the object “Tweezers may be needed” and put it out.
**If the person has a potentially serious head and or spine injury with blood or other fluid is in the ear canal or draining from the ear**
6) Led the ear drain. “DO NOT” apply direct pressure. “DO NOT” move the person if possible
7) Cover the ear “Lightly” with a sterile/clean dressing”
8) Provide Continual Care until EMS personnel arrive.
“Always seek further medical attention with objects that have been Impaled into the Body.”
With any head injury it is always a good idea to seek further medical attention to avoid complications that may include the Head / Neck or Spine.
We never know what can happen, its always good to be prepared and have the knowledge we need to help those who need it.