Swimmer’s ear can be mildly annoying or excruciatingly painful, and is not limited to swimmers. Any exposure to water, like hot tubs or long soaks in the bath, can result in water being trapped in the ear. If you believe you have swimmer’s ear, see your doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and swimmer’s ear treatment. Once you feel better, you can follow these simple tips to prevent swimmer’s ear in the future.
Otitis externa, or swimmer’s ear, is a bacterial infection of the outer ear canal. How do you get swimmer’s ear? It is caused by water getting trapped in the outer ear, creating the moist environment needed for bacteria to grow. Swimmer’s ear can also be caused when the lining of the outer ear gets irritated. Irritants can include cotton swabs and other foreign objects like car keys or hairpins being used to clean the ear. Hair products can also irritate the ear lining.
Certain skin conditions can exacerbate irritation of the ear lining thereby increasing the probability of swimmer’s ear. If you suffer from psoriasis, seborrhea, or very dry skin, you should take extra caution with your ears.
Doctors usually diagnose swimmer’s ear as mild, moderate, or advanced, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Mild swimmer’s ear symptoms can include:
Swimmer’s ear progresses to moderate when the symptoms worsen to:
A severe swimmer’s ear diagnosis is made if:
Even a mild case of swimmer’s ear should be taken seriously and treated by a medical professional to ensure that it does not progress in severity—which can lead to long-lasting or even permanent damage.
Antibiotic ear drops are usually the first course of swimmer’s ear treatment ordered by the doctor. Make sure your ears are clear and that you are allowing the drops to fully saturate. The best way to administer a dose is to lie on your side and have someone put the drops in for you, then remain that way for a few minutes. If ear drops alone do not clear up swimmer’s ear, then an oral antibiotic and/or steroid drops may be added.
If you are wondering how to get rid of swimmer’s ear, you may want to learn how to prevent it from happening in the first place. There are a number of things you can do to prevent swimmer’s ear including:
Swimmer’s ear treatment is not difficult, but having an advanced case of swimmer’s ear can be a miserable experience. Now that you know how you get swimmer’s ear and how to get rid of swimmer’s ear, you can do all you can to prevent it from ever happening.