Swimmers Ear

Written by Amy Hall
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Swimmer's ear, or otitis externa, is a painful infection that affects the ear canal. There is this misconception that you must swim in a pool or the ocean to get swimmer's ear. The truth is that anyone can get swimmer's ear if the ear canal is compromised in any way, which could be from a skin condition such as eczema or from a cut caused by a sharp object.

Once the fragile skin of the ear canal becomes compromised in any way, bacteria and fungi are much more likely to rear their ugly heads and stir up some trouble. An opening in the skin is a welcome invitation for bacteria and fungi to enter and cause an infection. When an infection is brewing, you may feel itching as the first sign that something is amiss. Some people complain that the itching is actually worse than the pain.

Although itching is bothersome, pain from swimmer's ear can be quite severe, especially when the ear lobe is touched or moved. Chewing food also induces more pain in a person with swimmer's ear. You may notice a yellowish, pus-like discharge coming from the ear as well. All of these symptoms are indicative of swimmer's ear, and you will require medical treatment in the form of antibiotic eardrops to eradicate the infection.

Dealing with Swimmer's Ear

The pain and itching associated with swimmer's ear can be miserable, but with proper treatment, it will go away. You can decrease your chances of succumbing to swimmer's ear by keeping your ear canals dry. If you are an avid swimmer, earplugs can seal off the opening of your ear to water. An ear dryer can be used after showering or swimming to completely dry up any trapped water in the ears, thus reducing the chances of you acquiring an outer ear infection.

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