What Is Swimmer’s Ear?
Swimmer’s ear, also known as external otitis, is an inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal. Otitis media and swimmer’s ear are combined are referred to as “ear aches”.
Most often, swimmer’s ear is caused by water which remains in the ear after swimming. This creates a moist environment which aids bacterial growth.
The inflammation associated with Swimmer’s ear can be secondary to dermatitis (eczema) only, with no microbial infection, or it can be caused by active bacterial or fungal infection.
In either case, the ear canal skin swells and may become painful or tender. In order to prevent serious complications from occurring, prompt treatment is required.
Complications may include:
- Hearing loss
- Chronic otitis externa
- Deep tissue infection
- Necrotizing otitis externa
Causes Of Swimmer’s Ear:
A common way to develop swimmer’s ear is by swimming in polluted water. However, it is also possible to develop it from water trapped in the ear canal after a shower, significantly in a humid condition.
Even without exposure to water, the use of objects such as cotton swabs to clear the ear canal is enough to cause breaks in the skin, and allow the condition to develop. Once the skin of the ear canal is inflamed, it can be drastically enhanced by either scratching the ear canal with an object.
Moreover, constriction of the ear canal from bone growth can trap debris which may lead to swimmer’s ear. Factors required for external otitis to develop are:
- Presence of germs that can infect skin
- Impairment in the integrity of the skin
Symptoms Of Swimmer’s Ear:
Symptoms vary in severity.
Mild signs may include:
- Itching in your ear canal
- Slight redness inside ear
- Mild discomfort
- Some drainage of clear, odorless fluid
Severe signs may include:
- Severe pain that may radiate to the face, neck or side of the head
- Complete blockage of the ear canal
- Redness or swelling of the outer ear
- Swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck
Diagnosis Of Swimmer’s Ear:
Diagnosis of swimmer’s ear are made via:
- Examination of ear canal
- Referring to an ENT specialist
Treatment Of Swimmer’s Ear:
Treatment options include:
- Medications, to relieve pain or infection
- Cleaning the outer ear via ear drops
By : Natural Health News