After a long day at the pool have you ever felt an uncomfortable pressure in your ears? You could be suffering from swimmer’s ear in Orlando.
When water gets trapped in the outer ear along with fungal organisms or bacteria, the ear canal can become irritated and painful. Many swimmers suffer from this condition, called acute otitis externa, or more commonly swimmer’s ear.
Causes of Swimmer’s Ear
The most common cause of Swimmer’s Ear is when water gets trapped inside the ear canal and invades the skin lining, causing bacteria to grow. Water enters the ear canal in more ways than just swimming. Virtually any moist environment can contribute such as baths, showers or hot tubs. When water becomes trapped inside the ear canal, it brings bacteria with it. The bacteria then begins to grow and causes an infection.
Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear
The most common symptom of swimmer’s ear is pain in the area of the ear. When a person is suffering from swimmer’s ear, they will commonly feel pain when they move their head or pull gently on the earlobe. Other symptoms include:
- Itchiness inside the ear
- Watery discharge coming out of the ear
- Yellow discharge from the ear
- Odorous discharge from the ear
- Hearing that is muffled
If left untreated, swimmer’s ear can have some serious complications such as continuing ear infections or damage to the bone and cartilage of the ear. Individuals may experience some hearing loss that will return to normal once the infection has been successfully treated.
Treatment of Swimmer’s Ear
In most cases, swimmer’s ear in Orlando can be treated easily. The doctor will likely clean the ear canal and then prescribe ear drops. The medicinal ear drops will stop the growth of bacteria and fungus as well as help reduce any inflammation.
An Orlando ear, nose, and throat specialist can check the affected ears to determine the severity of the infection. In some cases when the infection is severe, an oral antibiotic might be prescribed. In some cases, the ear canal has swollen completely shut and the physician may use a sponge or a wick to apply antibiotic drops. In other instances, the physician will also prescribe pain medications to help the patient be more comfortable while the ear heals. It is important to schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure that the infection has totally cleared up.
Preventing Swimmer’s Ear
For those who swim frequently there are some prevention tips that might help. The foremost thing is to keep the ears as dry as possible. Sometimes, individuals wear ear plugs to keep water from entering the ear canal. After swimming, bathing or showering, always use the towel to dry your ears very well. Tilting your head from side to side can also help water escape being trapped in the ear canal.
By pulling the earlobe while holding your ear facing down, water can drain out more efficiently. If you still have water in your ear, use a hair dryer on its lowest setting to help move the air inside the ear and help dry it out. Make sure to hold the dryer a few inches away from your ear. Contact your Orlando Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist if your ears become swollen, painful, itchy or flaky.
At the Pool
If you maintain your own pool or hot tub make sure to check the pool frequently to maintain the proper pH levels. If you are visiting a public pool or spa ask the operator if the pH levels and disinfectant levels are checked at least twice daily. Pools and hot tubs that maintain proper disinfectant and pH levels are not as likely to spread germs.