As warm weather approaches and swimming suits begin to appear in every store, it is important to make sure that this summer’s swimming is done with safety and health in mind. One challenge you might find yourself facing is swimmer’s ear–so it’s important to know the details.
When you have swimmer’s ear, what you really have is an infection that specifically attacks the ear canal–the canal that connects your eardrum to the outside of your head. This is most often caused by a little bit of water leftover from a swim, which creates a moist environment inside your ear, allowing bacteria to grow and flourish. However, some cases of swimmer’s ear are a little different–they are caused by injury to the skin of the ear canal itself, perhaps thanks to a cotton swab or an allergic reaction. No matter what the cause, swimmer’s ear is uncomfortable, and it can lead to complications.
A Closer Look
Here’s what our Boise Ear, Nose, and Throat experts want you to know about swimmer’s ear!
- Severity. One of the most important aspects of swimmer’s ear is the severity. A mild case will cause itching, drainage, and slight discomfort; a moderate cause will include pus discharge, the feeling of a blockage in the ear canal, hearing problems, and pain; a severe case is characterized by pain that spreads across the face and neck, fever, and outer ear swelling.
- Time. If you leave swimmer’s ear untreated for too long, the effects can be extremely damaging. Swimmer’s ear can eventually cause hearing loss, long-term infection of the tissue, and extreme infections that spread through the body and can even be fatal. It is important to get treatment right away.
- Prevention. To avoid swimmer’s ear, remember to keep your ears dry as much as possible. Drain your ears after a shower or a swim, and make sure that you only enter clean, well-maintained, water. It’s also a good idea to avoid putting anything inside your ear (especially fingers!) and ensuring that irritants like hair spray don’t get inside your ear.
Interested in more tips on swimmer’s ear? Looking for Boise Ear, Nose, and Throat experts? Contact us at (208) 367-3320 today!