How to Get Rid of Swimmer’Ear?

Swimmer’s ear is not necessarily limited to amateur and professional swimmers or even to those who spend time at the public pool. This common name was assigned to an ear-canal infection because it commonly occurs in people who spend a lot of time in the water.

The medical term for swimmer’s ear is otitis externa. The term “externa” refers to the outer part of the ear, as opposed to the middle ear that gets infected with other types of medical conditions. If a particular bacteria gets into the ear canal that leads to the eardrum the sensitive tissue can become infected. Swimmers get this infection when water washes away protective wax, exposing the skin. Spending time in the water on a consistent basis doesn’t give this protective wax coating time to build up.

After the tissue is exposed and bacteria have a chance to infect the area, the constantly moist conditions of a swimmer’s ear are perfect for the growth of harmful bacteria. The ear canal will become swollen and painful to the touch. Eventually, the ear aches even when it isn’t touched. As we mentioned earlier, this condition may occur in people who don’t swim every day, but it is more common in swimmers.

SwimmerIf you feel that your ear is becoming sensitive to the touch or begins to itch or ache, it may be wise to check with your doctor. Swelling may also reduce your hearing. Prescription ear drops can help eliminate the bacteria and the doctor may prescribe these after treating the ear at his office. Some doctors may even place a “wick” in the ear – soft material that is soaked with anti-bacterial medicine. The doctor will have you remove this after a certain period of time. In addition, you will have to apply ear drops or other medication as directed by the physician, over a period several days.

Another major step in getting rid of swimmer’s ear is to stop swimming! This may be the only way to allow the protective coating to build up on the sensitive ear-canal tissue. In fact, your doctor will probably tell you to stay out of the pool for a week or longer. While this may be difficult for children when they are out of school for the summer, it is absolutely necessary that the ear stay relatively dry for a long period of time. If not, the protective coating won’t build up and moisture will allow the bacteria to grow again. *Tip – One of the key facts about cleanliness and health is that bacteria don’t grow well in dry conditions.

While it is very important to stay out of the swimming pool while getting rid of swimmer’s ear, it is also important to keep the ear medicated as prescribed. During this time you should continue to shower or bathe as usual. Regular bathing does not generally contribute to swimmer’s ear, as a daily swimming regimen does. When it’s time to get into the pool again, your doctor may prescribe something that will help dry the ear canal after each swimming session. Pay attention to what the doctor says and pay attention to your ears if you swim a lot!

Category: Diseases & Conditions, Health

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