When summer rolls around, we all want to head out to the water. An afternoon of swimming can be a remarkable relief on a hot day. If your children complain of pain in their ears afterwards, however, it’s time to see a doctor. Swimmer’s ear is a treatable but serious issue that plagues many people each year.
What’s Swimmer’s Ear?
This condition is marked by infection, inflammation, or irritation of the outer ear canal. This is different from a regular ear infection, which occurs in the middle ear. Sometimes swimmer’s ear is a secondary infection brought on by middle ear or respiratory infections. It can also be caused by scratches inside the ear. However, swimming is the most common instigator of this painful issue.
The source of pain and inflammation in this condition is damage to the delicate skin around your ear canal. When bacteria or fungal organisms grow there, it causes discomfort. Sometimes this is accompanied by pus and swelling. In advanced stages, fever and complete blockage of the ear canal can result.
Swimmer’s ear occurs because moisture left inside the ears can act as a breeding ground for these organisms. Another cause of this condition is lakes, pools, and other communal locations that can come pre-packaged with bacteria. More often than not, teenagers who have been swimming develop this issue, but it isn’t age specific. If you experience any symptoms of swimmer’s ear, call your doctor. Even if they begin mildly, they can quickly accelerate.
How to Avoid Swimmer’s Ear?
Be careful about where you decide to swim. If it’s a pool, make sure it’s regularly maintained, and if it’s a lake or river, stick to moving water rather than stagnant areas. Regardless of where you swim, always try and drain your ears after by titling your head to each side.
There’s no need to worry about swimmer’s ear from showers, and even when kids take baths, it’s not likely they’ll get swimmer’s ear since the water is clean. However, if water does get trapped in the ear canal, it’s possible. While drying, be mindful not to shove anything into your ear. This can scratch the delicate tissues inside and cause a similar issue. Along these same lines, avoid using cotton swabs too aggressively. Another good tip is to refrain from sharing earbuds and to clean yours regularly.
Enjoy Summer Pain-Free
Swimmer’s ear is a quick way to put a damper on any summer fun. Now that you know what it is and how it’s caused, you’re better armed to combat it. Remember these easy tips, and your summer should be free from these ear troubles.