Swimmer’s ear is an infection in the outer ear canal. The medical name is otitis externa. The cause is due to several reasons like bacteria or fungi infection.
What causes Swimmers’ Ear?
Swimmer’s ear is a common problem in those who is involve in water sports activities. As high moisture in the ear breakdown the skin in the canal causing irritation. It is caused mainly in summer, in the swimming season, letting bacteria and fungi penetrate in the ear canal. There is one misconception that swimmer’s ear is caused by people involved in swimming only. Anything that affects skin break of the ear canal can lead to infection. For example, dry skin, rigid ear cleaning, scratching the ear canal or putting a foreign object inside ear like paper clips. These activities can result in an increase in the risk of Swimmer’s Ear.
Besides, if you have middle ear infection with pus, this can drain into the outer ear canal through the ear drum hole causing swimmers ear.
What are the signs that you have Swimmer’s Ear?
The major sign of swimmer’s ear is inflammation. It can get worse when the outer ear is exposed to touch. Some of you may find painful to chew. At times, patients may feel itchy or discomfort before pain begins. The outer ear may change to red or get swollen indicating the infection. Also, you may feel pain in the lymph nodes around the ear as it gets enlarged and tender.
Ear pain is the main sign of swimmer’s ear. It can be severe and gets worse when the outer part of the ear is pulled or pressed on. It also may be painful to chew. Sometimes the ear canal itches before the pain begins. Some patients may experience discharge from the ear canal that is yellowish, cloudy, and pus-like in nature.
You do not have to worry as hearing may be temporarily affected as the swelling or pus blocks the sound passage in the ear. In a few cases, result in fever.
How to prevent Swimmer’s ear?
In this section, we will cover some important tips to avoid getting a painful ear infection called Swimmer’s ear. Using over the counter available dilute solution of acetic acid clean the ear post swimming. Especially in kids, those are more likely to an ear infection.
You may purchase the drops without a prescription at the drugstore. Note, avoid using it if kids have ear tubes or hole in the eardrum. To reduce risk, young kids should not clear their ear themselves. Also, never put objects into the kid’s ear.
How to Treat Swimmer’s Ear?
The treatment for Swimmer’s ear depends on the level of severity of the infection. An ENT specialist will prescribe ear drop containing antibiotics to cure an ear infection. Possible the drops can be mixed with steroids to reduce inflammation and swelling. Usually, ear drop is given several times a day for 7 to 10 days.
There can be cases when it is challenging to put ear drops because of swelling. The doctor inserts the medication inside the ear using a dressing in the canal. In some cases, the ENT doctor may need to remove pus with gentle suction. Cleaning the ear helps the ear drop work its magic. Your doctor will include oral antibiotics to reduce inflammation and pain.
Remember, over-the-counter drop often manage ear pain, but you need to consult specialist to avoid serious damage.
Reach Adventis – Advance Ear, Nose and Throat specialist in Delhi if you are experiencing any of the above signs.