What is Swimmer’s ear?
Swimmer’s ear (Otitis Externa) refers to a condition that affects the critical outer ear and ear canal and causes pain in this area. The ear canal performs the function of protecting the middle ear from foreign objects like bugs, water or small toys children may shove in there. It also protects the ear from developing infections.
What are its causes and concerns?
Swimmer’s ear occurs when water enters the middle ear, bypassing the ear canal. This could happen while swimming or showering. This condition is most commonly seen among children and teenagers, although adults can also develop this problem. Statistics show that at least 10% of the population will have at least one case of Swimmer’s ear in their lifetime.
Though Swimmer’s ear is not usually considered a medical emergency, it is recommended to seek medical attention if one observes the following:
- Swimmer’s ear accompanied by a disease or condition that suppresses the immune system
- Redness that goes from the ear down the neck
- Pain that cannot be controlled by over the counter medication
- Weakness in the facial muscles
- History of ear problems
- History of ear surgeries
- A high fever
What are its symptoms?
Swimmer’s ear is typically associated with the following symptoms:
- Itchy ear canal
- Low-grade fever
- Pain in one ear that gradually gets worse
- Difficulty hearing
- Ear drainage that may be clear, yellow, white or bloody with a foul smell
- Ringing in the affected ear
What are the solutions and treatment options?
Sometimes, it is possible to treat this condition at home. You may try an over the counter pain reliever like Tylenol or over the counter ear drops. However, more severe cases may require medical intervention.
The pain and inflammation (swelling) which accompanies Swimmer’s ear can be treated with medication. You can visit an ear specialist who will clean out the ear, especially in the case of a lot of fluid draining from it. In case of an infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics and require you to make a follow-up visit after a week or two.
Though some Swimmer’s ear cases may be treatable at home, you must keep an eye on the severity of the symptoms. Visit us to get an inspection done by our trained ear specialist today!
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