How to Prevent Swimmer's Ear

Think twice before you dive into that swimming pool or a local Michigan lake. According to the CDC, swimmer’s ear results in around 2.4 million health care visits each year. The good news – you can prevent this painful infection with a few simple tips.

What Is Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmer’s ear is an infection that occurs in your outer ear canal, the part running between the outside of your head and your eardrum. It’s generally caused by water that’s left behind in the ear after you swim, which creates a moist environment that allows bacteria to grow. You can also end up with swimmer’s ear if you damage that thin layer of skin that lines the ear canal by putting cotton swabs, fingers or other objects into your ears.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms generally start out as mild, but if the infection spreads or isn’t treated, they may become worse. Symptoms, which vary based upon the progression of the infection, may include:

Tips for Preventing Swimmer’s Ear

Reduce your risk of swimmer’s ear by following a few helpful prevention tips.

When You Need Treatment

If you experience any of the symptoms of swimmer’s ear, even if they seem mild, it’s still important to contact us at Lakeshore Ear, Nose, Throat Center, PC. Without proper treatment, complications can occur, such as deep tissue infection, temporary hearing loss or a more widespread infection.

To treat the infection, we’ll begin by cleaning your outer ear canal. This will ensure eardrops can flow to all of the affected areas. We’ll use an ear curette or a suction device to clear away flaky skin, clumps of earwax, discharge and any other debris. In most cases, we’ll prescribe eardrops that have a combination of ingredients like steroids, antibiotics, antifungal medications and acidic solutions, based upon the seriousness and type of infection you have. If you’re dealing with a lot of pain, we’ll often suggest that you also use an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol, Aleve or Motrin.

Remember, the symptoms of swimmer’s ear shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re dealing with ear pain, redness, or any of the other signs and symptoms of this condition, contact Lakeshore Ear, Nose, Throat Center, PC today to book your appointment or schedule online.


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