A Sudden Summer Ear Ache Might Be Swimmer’s Ear

June 8, 2017

An infection or inflammation of the ear canal that leads from the outer ear to the eardrum is known as Swimmer’s Ear. The name comes from the fact that this condition often presents itself in people who have been swimming, but one need not have been swimming to have the condition.


What is Swimmer’s Ear?

The ear canal is very sensitive. If water, sand, or other small particles get into that area, bacteria or fungus might grow in the ear canal, causing the painful condition known as swimmer’s ear.


What Causes Swimmer’s Ear?

The ear being exposed to any type of water can cause Swimmer’s Ear. That includes swimming, showering, and bathing.

The ear canal can also be inflamed by other things, besides water. Hearing aids, eczema in or around the ear, and sticking things in the ear for cleaning can also inflame the ear canal.
Certain conditions make it more likely that you will get swimmer’s ear:
• Suffering from frequent ear infections
• Having a narrow or hairy ear canal
• Eczema or dry skin
• Having little or no ear wax
• Living in a climate like Florida – warm and humid
• If you’ve had swimmer’s ear in the past, you are more likely to get it again


How Will I Know if I Have Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmer’s Ear can be a very painful condition. The pain may get worse if you touch the outer ear, or when you chew. Other symptoms include:
• Swelling of the ear canal, and in some cases, the outer ear
• A feeling like the ear is plugged, or that there is water in the ear
• Discharge from the ear that might be yellow or brownish in color
• An itchy feeling in the ear


What Do I Do if I Suspect I Have Swimmer’s Ear?

It’s best to have a medical professional look into any severe ear pain. Quick Care Med is open evenings, weekends, and holidays, with providers ready to address your ear pain quickly and efficiently.


How is Swimmer’s Ear Treated?

The medical professional will ask questions and look in the ear to determine the best course of treatment. Ear drops may be prescribed to clear up any infection. The provider might also suggest over-the-counter pain relievers.

It is best to work to keep the ear dry until the Swimmer’s Ear clears up.


How Can I Avoid Getting Swimmer’s Ear?

•Do not swim in water that might be dirty or polluted
•Avoid extended use of ear plugs or headphones in the ear as their prolonged use can irritate the ear canal
•Do not stick anything inside your ear to clean it
•Try to keep hair products, such as shampoo, out of your ears
•Keep ears dry whenever possible
•Shake your head to clear water after bathing
•Use the edge of a towel or a hair dryer on low to dry your ears
•Put a few drops of rubbing alcohol in each ear after showering or swimming. A commercial product designed to prevent swimmer’s ear can also be used.


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