What Is Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmer’s Ear, or otitis externa, is inflammation of the external ear canal caused by liquid lingering there and promoting bacterial growth. It is a condition most commonly found in swimmers because water tends to get trapped in their ears, hence the name. Other people can contract the condition, however. It can happen after showering, or bathing. It can even occur during a severe rainstorm. 

Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear

Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include pain in the ear, trouble hearing, redness and swelling.  Itching may be the first symptom which causes scratching and breaks the skin, inviting more infection. Pus may drain from the ear in severe conditions. Additionally, some people may experience ringing in the ear, dizziness or vertigo.

How to Prevent Ear Infection and Otitis Externa

As holistic pediatricians, we believe the best medicine is prevention. We think the best course of action is for each person to do everything that he or she can to prevent the condition from ever developing. The first step is to keep the ears dry at all times. This may mean wearing protective earplugs during swimming sessions. 

It’s essential to clean and dry the ears properly after swimming if you or your child chooses not to use earplugs. The swimmer will need to drain each ear immediately after he or she is finished swimming. This can be done by lying on one side for five minutes and switching sides after five minutes to promote draining. You can also use a blow dryer on a low setting to try to evaporate some of the water in and on the ear. If you are still having trouble, you can use over the counter swimmer’s ear drops to dry up the water in the ears.

What to do if you get Swimmer’s Ear?

Itchy ears can be caused by several situations. Allergies, a new hair product, improper cleaning, and Psoriasis can all cause itching in the ears. Swimmer’s ear usually progresses from itching to a red and swollen canal fairly quickly. In mild cases, keeping the ear dry and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever will be enough to clear it up in a few days. If the sufferer develops severe pain, ear discharge, or the ear swells, this is when it is time to come in and get checked out.