All About Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is an infection in the ear canal that despite the impression given by its name isn’t only limited to swimmers. The medical name for this infection is Acute Otitis Externa. In this article, we will tell you all about the condition, its causes, symptoms, treatment, and precautionary measures.

Condition

The infection affects the outer ear and ear canal resulting in inflammation and severe pain. Visit an urgent care clinic and learn more about the condition.

Causes

When water remains in the ear canal for a long time, the bacteria already living in the canal multiply in an unorderly manner, resulting in an infected ear canal.

The most common cause of the infection is the excessive moisture that remains in the ear canal after a bath, swimming, showers or due to moist environments.

Some other elements that may lead to this infection are:

  • Excessive cleaning of the ear canal.
  • Hairsprays, hair dyes or such other chemicals making contact with the ear canal.
  • Any damage to the skin of the ear canal.
  • Inserting something into your ear that may cause skin breaks.
  • Contaminated or polluted liquids making contact with the ear canal.
  • Excessive use of ear devices such as ill-fitted hearing aids, earphones or dirty earbuds.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of this painful infection are:

  • A feeling of blocked or full ear
  • Fever
  • Liquid draining from the ear
  • Decreased hearing ability
  • Swollen lymph nodes near neck or ear
  • Intense pain in the ear that may move to the neck or a side of the head
  • Red and swollen skin around the ear.

Two very common symptoms of swimmer’s ear are:

  • The itchy sensation inside the ear,
  • Pain in the internal ear that hurts more when the outer ear is pulled.

Treatment

Following are a few symptoms that you can take to treat early stages of swimmer’s ear.

  • Clean your ear canal carefully.
  • Use drops that prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria in your ear canal. That will also make the inflammation better.
  • Mildly acidic solutions containing acetic acid should be used.

If the infection has grown severe, contact your doctor or visit an urgent care clinic for better treatment. Your doctor may treat your condition in different ways that may include:

  • Application of antibiotics around your ears
  • Prescription of oral antibiotics
  • Application of antibiotics inside your ear canal.

NOTE: Before you use eardrops or solution of any kind, be sure that your eardrum is not punctured, ruptured or damaged.

Prevention

It is rightly said that prevention is better than cure. That’s why it’s better to take precautionary measures in order to prevent the infection from building up.

As we know that moisture is the main reason that leads to swimmer’s ear we should take steps to keep our internal ear free of excessive moisture. Take the following steps as protective measures:

  • Avoid water from entering your ears while swimming by using earplugs.
  • Keep your ears dry by use of a dry towel or hair dryer.
  • Avoid the removal of earwax with cotton swabs as it may remove the protective layer of the earwax and leave your inner ear canal unprotected.
  • If you have excessive earwax, itchy or scaly ears, have your ENT specialist clean your ears.