With kids out of school and the arrival of summer just around the corner, summertime activities are in full swing, including swimming, water sports, surfing and more. While attention is typically directed to safety in and on the water, we see water-related ear problems every year! Unfortunately, sometimes a fun beach day leads to an uncomfortable ear pain; a case of swimmer’s ear might be the reason.
Otitis externa (“swimmer’s ear”), is often caused by germs that get in the ear canal, which starts at the outside of the ear and ends inside at the eardrum. Both adults and children can get swimmer’s ear, and swimming is not the only cause. Swimmer’s ear can cause pain, swelling, itching, and redness, you may have trouble hearing or feel like your ear is packed. Ear pain may get worse when the outside of the ear is touched or pulled. It can be confusing trying to decide whether your ear needs to be seen by a professional and how quickly that is necessary.
Tips to Help you Avoid Swimmer’s Ear:
- Avoid swimming in unclean water
- Block water from getting in the ear with a swim cap or earplugs
- Limit time using items that go in the ear such as earplugs or headphones
- Keep ears dry by letting water drain out after water activities
- Don’t use cotton swabs to clean the ear
Swimmer’s ear is a quick way to put a damper on any summer fun. Now that you know what it is and how it’s caused, you’re better armed to combat it. While this condition often responds well to antibiotic eardrops, especially when discovered early in its course, it can occasionally be difficult to resolve and may require careful cleaning with an ENT specialist. Stick to these easy tips, and your summer should be free from these ear troubles, but if you do have any issue come see us at the ENT Institute! Let our family take care of yours!