Swimmer’s ear is a term used to describe an infection of the outer ear canal. Also known as otitis externa, swimmer’s ear is incredibly common in children and, you guessed it, swimmers.
What Causes Swimmer’s Ear?
Forcing objects like cotton swabs or earbuds into your ear can push water deeper inside the ear canal. If water is retained within the ear canal for a substantial period of time it can encourage bacteria to grow within the ear. This bacteria is what often causes an infection within the ear.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear?
Typically, those with an outer ear canal infection will experience an itching sensation from inside of the ear in addition to a fair amount of pain. Other signs of swimmer’s ear include:
- A blocked or full feeling within the ear
- Drainage from the ear
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Redness around the affected ear
- A fever
How Does Peoria Ear, Nose & Throat Group Treat Swimmer’s Ear?
Antibiotic ear drops are commonly prescribed by our specialists to treat swimmer’s ear. If the canal is swollen, your doctor may have to first remove any pus or buildup to allow the drops full access throughout the affected ear.
If the infection is particularly severe, oral antibiotics may be better suited to treat it. The entire treatment process usually takes about one week to cure swimmer’s ear.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can greatly reduce pain caused by swimmer’s ear, but these alone will not stop the infection. If you notice intense pain or a fever you should contact a specialist immediately, as these are signs of a particularly severe case of swimmer’s ear.