Swimmers ear happens when the outer canal of your ear becomes infected and inflamed. It isn’t contagious, but it is common in children and those who spend a lot of time in the water during the summer. AFC Urgent Care Lyndhurst can help treat Swimmers ear when the infection first begins. It’s important not to leave it untreated, as further complications can occur.
Symptoms of Swimmers Ear
Symptoms will vary in severity and get worse the longer it’s left untreated. Some common symptoms include:
- Redness of the ear
- Pain when touching your ear
- Pus drainage
- A feeling of fullness or plugged-up
Causes & Risks
Swimmers ear is commonly caused by water that is not clean or has bacteria in it. Other causes include scratching your ear canal using cotton swabs or your finger, a dry ear canal, an injury to the ear canal, or an excess of wax.
Risk factors include swimming frequently or in water with high levels of bacteria, aggressively cleaning the ear canals, skin allergies, or using items such as earbuds.
Initial testing may include simply examining the ear and eardrum. Your physician will be able to tell if it is infected by looking at it. Further testing may consist of sending in a sample of any fluid from the ear.
Once diagnosed, your doctor may clean your ear from any debris or irritants. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to help kill off any infection. Eardrops can also be prescribed to help ease discomfort and speed up the recovery process.
Swimmer’s ear is not serious as long as it is treated promptly. Without proper treatment, certain complications may occur. Complications include:
- Temporary hearing loss
- Long-term infection – this includes symptoms lasting more than three months
- Deep tissue infection
- Bone and cartilage damage
- Widespread infection spreading to other parts of the body
Preventing Swimmers Ear
Preventing Swimmer’s ear can be very easy throughout the summers. The most important thing to keep in mind is keeping your ears dry and free of any foreign objects. After swimming or showers, be sure to dry the outer part of your ear. Tiltigng your head to the side can help drain any excess water out instead of putting objects such as cotton swabs in your ear. Don’t swim in water that has high bacteria counts.
Avoid putting any foreign objects in your ears, and be sure to protect them from any irritants.