It’s critical to keep your ears clean and prevent moisture from building up in your ear canal. Moisture can allow germs to grow and cause an infection. Swimmer’s ear is one such infection that will affect 1 out of 10 people at least once in their lives. Although it’s associated with swimming, you can develop the infection without diving in a pool or swimming in the ocean. The painful condition can be treated and prevented. What do you know about a swimmer’s ear, and how can you prevent it?
Visit AFC Urgent Care Malden today for treatment of Swimmer’s ear. We’re able to help with treatment and safely remove any excess earwax.
What is Swimmer’s Ear?
Swimmer’s ear is an infection in the outer ear canal. This runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head. The infection is typically the result of water remaining in the ear after swimming, which causes the accumulation of moisture that creates an environment for bacterial growth.
Symptoms of Swimmer’s ear can include:
- Inside the infected ear canal is itchy
- A swollen ear that looks red
- Pain when the ear is tugged or pressure is applied to the ear
- Infected ear drains pus
The symptoms can grow more intense as the infection progresses, and new symptoms could develop as well.
Swimmer’s ear typically occurs under certain conditions involving the weakening of your ear’s defenses and developing an environment that promotes bacterial growth. These include the following:
Excess Build-up of Moisture the Ear
Whether it’s heavy perspiration, continued warm and humid weather, or water retention in the ear after swimming, all can help to establish the ideal environment for bacteria to grow.
Abrasions or Scratches in the Ear Canal
Small breaks in the skin inside the air canal can occur when you clean the ear using a cotton swab or hairpin, use the finger to scratch inside the ear, or simply wear earbuds or hearing aids, which can cause bacteria to develop.
You may have sensitivity to certain hair products or jewelry that can trigger an allergic reaction and skin conditions that foster the growth of bacteria in the ear canal.
Tips to Preventing Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear is a preventable condition. Try these tips:
- Avoid scratching or cleaning your ear canal with cotton swabs, your fingers, or other types of foreign objects
- Thoroughly dry your ears after swimming or bathing by gently wiping with a soft cloth or towel or cloth
- Avoid swimming on days when the water has high bacterial counts
- Keep irritants like hair sprays and dyes away from your ears by covering ears with cotton balls during application
- Maintain balance when it comes to ear wax hygiene
Swimmer’s ear is a preventable illness, and being proactive can keep the infection at bay. Protect your ear and your health by not fostering an environment for bacterial growth in your ear canal. If you suspect that you may have developed Swimmer’s ear, visit your doctor for treatment.