Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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NEWS AND FILLER  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 1096-1097
Swimmer's ear-symptoms, causes, and treatment


Content Writer, Meridian Plaza, Beside Lal Bungalow, Ameerpet, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

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Date of Web Publication5-Oct-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Singh T. Swimmer's ear-symptoms, causes, and treatment. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1096-7

How to cite this URL:
Singh T. Swimmer's ear-symptoms, causes, and treatment. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Jun 24];10:1096-7. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/4/1096/215847


Swimmer's ear is caused by a number of common bacteria found in lakes, hot tubs, and pools. The infection gets going from a trauma in the ear canal—possibly a nick or scratch. This condition frequently occurs in swimmers, which is why it's known as swimmer's ear; however, it can occur in anyone, even from showering.

Swimmer's ear is also called otitis externa—a painful condition of the visible or outer portion of the ear and ear canal (outer ear). Swimmer's ear starts out as itching and maybe some soreness inside the ear but soon becomes severely painful and swollen, especially if you press on the little flap next to the ear opening.

People who wear hearing aids are especially prone to swimmer's ear, if you develop swimmer's ear, leave out the hearing aids for a while. The main cause of swimmer's ear is a break in the skin lining of the outer ear or ear canal that allows bacteria or fungi to invade the outer ear.

A break in the skin may be caused by scratching the ear area, skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis, improperly cleaning your ears with cotton-tipped swabs or other objects inserted in the ear, using devices inserted into the ear (ear plugs, hearing aids, headphones, ear buds, and other devices), or chemicals (hair dyes, bleaches, certain shampoos, and hair sprays).

Symptoms of swimmer's ear

The symptoms include pain, itching, redness, swelling, draining fluid or pus, difficulty hearing, ringing in the ear, dizziness, vertigo, and so on.

Causes of swimmer's ear

Any break in the skin lining can lead to infection, allowing bacteria or fungi to invade the outer ear. Generally, any inflammation of the outer ear canal, such as infections, allergies, or skin conditions, can lead to swimmer's ear.

Ear plugs, hearing aids, headphones, and other devices that may be inserted into the ear canal may increase the risk of swimmer's ear.

Chemicals such as hair dyes, bleaches, and shampoos may irritate the ear canal and alter its protective properties, developing an infection.

When you attempt to clean your ears with cotton-tipped swabs or other objects inserted in the ear, the skin lining of the ear canal may break. This can also remove the protective ear wax from the ear canal. The break in the skin allows an infection to start.

Treatment for swimmer's ear

Medications are generally aimed at symptom relief as well as a cure for swimmer's ear. The main steps to treat swimmer's ear include:

  • Clean the ear thoroughly
  • Treat inflammation and infection
  • Control pain
  • Obtain sample of any drainage and culture it (to see if any bacteria grows)
  • Avoid factors that may promote inflammation or infection


If there is a large amount of drainage or debris in the ear, the doctor will clean out the ear canal before medicine is placed in the ear.

Oral pain medicines may be prescribed if OTC medicines are not strong enough. Oral antibiotics are not often prescribed unless the infection is severe (complicated otitis externa including extension of the infection to the adjacent skin).

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



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Correspondence Address:
Taara Singh
Content Writer, Meridian Plaza, Beside Lal Bungalow, Ameerpet, Hyderabad, Telangana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ATMPH.ATMPH_123_17

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