SWIMMER’S EAR SYMPTOMS
the pain before and during treatment, over- the-counter pain relievers are effective at helping to reduce some of the discomfort in
• Itchiness in the ear canal.
• Pain when pushing or pulling
on the outer ear.
• Clear drainage.
• Swelling and redness of the ear.
© STUDIO 1ONE / SHUTTERSTOCK
• Sensation of fullness in the ear.
• Swollen lymph nodes around the ear,
upper neck and jaw.—LC
BY LAUREN CONTE
ACUTE OTITIS externa,
also known as swimmer’s
ear, is an ear infection
caused by bacteria and—
instances are rare—some-
times viruses or fungi.
Long exposure to con-
taminated water, such as
When people use their fingers, cotton swabs
or other objects to scratch their ears, the
softened skin is easily broken, spreading
the infection further.
recreational pools or lakes, makes individuals susceptible to infections. The water
softens the skin inside the ear and allows
bacteria to multipy and cause irritation.
Treatment options vary, but doctors
often prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal
medication to kill the infection, plus a steroid
solution to restore the normal pH inside the
ear. (When applying the drops, have someone else help you. Also, lie down with the
affected ear facing up, in order to fill the ear
completely with medication.) To decrease
Also, never use fingers or cotton swabs
to try to remove water from ears. Fingernails
can cut up the inside of the ears, and cotton
swabs can puncture eardrums and scrape
the ear canal. Similarly, do not try to use
cotton swabs to remove earwax, as the natural substance protects against infection and
waterproofs your ears.
Don’t let swimmer’s ear put a damper
on your summer. C
Lauren Conte is a marketing consultant for
Eosera Inc., an ear care company.
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