Swimmers Ear: Symptoms, Remedy and Treatment  

Swimmers ear and external otitis. Inner and outer ear infection treatment and remedies for an ear canal infection.

You can find some current health articles on the internet.  This is an outer ear infection and is a condition from inflammation, infection, or irritation of the ear canal and results in pain.  When water gets in your ear the bacteria spreads throughout the ear canal causing possible drainage from ear canal.  This is a common ear injury of swimmers and many times affects children.

Sometimes a baby ear infection can happen when toddlers swim too much.  With teenagers, it can cause excessive earwax.

Causes Of Swimmers Ear

The most common cause of these kinds of infections is that water or moisture, either from bathing, showering, swimming, etc... gets trapped in the ear canal.  This environment is perfect for bacteria to grow and multiply.   Any ear problems should be treated by your health care provider as chronic ear infections may have a long term effect on hearing.  Your provider will probably prescribe swimmer's ear drops or a home remedy for swimmers ear to clear up any infection.

Ear Disorder Contributing Factors

Not all ear disorders are caused but water in the ear canal.  There are some contributing factors such as:

  • A cut or scrape inside the canal
  • Damage to the canal when wax was being removed
  • Excessive swimming
  • Excessive bathing or showering
  • Excessive use of hair spray or hair dye (Use cotton balls or good custom ear plugs)
  • Excessive use of cotton swabs to clear out the ear canal
  • Contact with bacteria in a swimming pool or hot tub that is not properly sanitized

Swimmer Ear Signs and Symptoms

Most of the time the symptoms include itchiness and/or moderate pain inside the ear canal that hurts more when the Auricle (outer ear) is pulled. Other signs may include:

  • Ear drainage
  • Fever
  • Feeling like the ear canal is blocked
  • Reduced hearing
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the back of your neck
  • Swelling and redness around the ear

If left untreated, it could result in:

  • Hearing loss
  • More ear infections
  • Cartilage and bone damage

Swimmer's Ear Treatments & Prevention

Always consult your health care provider. The germs/bacteria that cause swimmer's ear require a moist environment to survive.  If your ears are kept dry the bacteria cannot grow.  You must change your ear's environment.  The following tips can help you prevent swimmer's ear.

  • Use ear plugs or get some custom ear plugs made specifically for your ear canal
  • Have your ears cleaned by a qualified Otolaryngologist for itchy scaly ears, or excessive earwax
  • Only use a clean dry towel or hair dryer to dry your ears
  • Maintain proper ear wax hygiene
  • Take good care of your skin.  Cracked or dry skin is an infection waiting to happen.

Don't ever use cotton swabs or stick anything inside your ear as this may cause a cut inside the ear canal or may pack the earwax or dirt further inside the ear which is a perfect place for bacteria to grow.

If you don't have ear drops or run out, here are a couple of suggestions until you can get your prescription filled again.

Rubbing alcohol

This evaporates water trapped inside the ear and might kill the bacteria inside you ear.  Apply a couple of drops after swimming, using the hot tub, or showering.  

Hydrogen Peroxide

Great home remedy for swimming, but there's a caveat.  Peroxide is good for a wide variety of things, but some studies have shown that is not only kills the bacteria you don't want, it can kill healthy tissue as well.  Use as directed by your health care professional.

swimmer's ear, swimmers ear, otitis externa, external ear infection, outer ear infection, earache, ear infection, ear canal infection, bacteriaSwimmer's Ear Drops

Otitis externa should not be confused with Labyrinthitis.  This usually affects the whole inner ear and is always attributed to an infection.  This is a painful experience but not to worry.  If caught early and with proper treatment, it shouldn't cause any lasting issues.  Obviously this is for information purposes only.  This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such.  If you do have an ear infection or swimmers ear the best thing to do is get to your health care provider to handle your situation. 

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