On 12:13 PM by NY Drs. Urgent Care
Though we are now in the month of August and Fall is soon to come, there are plenty more Common Summer Ailments to be discussed; such as: Swimmer's Ear.

Swimmer's ear (also called otitis externa) is an infection started by bacteria in the water left inside the ear after swimming. If you spend a lot of time swimming, especially in water with high levels of bacteria, you’re at risk for swimmer’s ear. Children are more likely to get it because they have a narrow ear canal.

Swimmer’s ear can start with discomfort. As symptoms get worse, they can get downright painful. Symptoms include:
• Itching in the ear canal
• Redness inside the ear
• Fluid in the ear
• Feeling of fullness inside the ear
• Muffled hearing
• Increasing pain, especially when wiggling the earlobe

If you notice you or someone you know states: “I can’t hear you” more frequently than normal, it’s good to see a doctor to try to stop the infection from getting worse. Worse could turn into something serious. Fever. Pain radiating in the face, neck and head. An infection that blocks the ear canal. Quite simply, the water left over in your ears after swimming can put you in the emergency room.

Other risk factors for swimmer’s ear include irritants such as aggressive cleaning of the ear canal with cotton swabs or sticking other objects in the ear, using a swimming cap that traps moisture or using hair sprays that get into the ear. People who overproduce earwax are also more vulnerable to swimmer’s ear.

 To avoid swimmer’s ear, keep your ears dry. After swimming, showering, bathing – anytime the inside of the ear is wet or saturated – tilt and shake your head to drain the water from the ears. You can use a hair dryer to dry out ears; just set the heat to low and keep the heat source far enough away from the skin to avoid causing any burns. You can also:
  • Keep from sticking objects into ear, even cotton swabs.
  • Avoid excessive earplug use and remove hearing aids often to keep earwax from building up and being pushed into the ear canal.
  • Consider using over the counter eardrops after water exposure to prevent swimmer’s ear.
  • Consider seeing an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) to discuss other solutions if they are prone to swimmer’s ear symptoms.