Cooling yourself off in the swimming pool is great, but if you do it too much, you might find yourself facing a painful ear infection caused by fungal or bacterial growth. This condition, known as swimmer’s ear or otitis externa, occurs when the ear canal gets infected from bacterial growth. Water constantly getting inside the ear removes the wax that serves as protective covering of the canal, leaving the ear vulnerable. Those who always swim in chlorinated pools are prone to this condition.
Symptoms And Other Causes Of Swimmer’s Ear
If you notice these signs, then it’s likely that you have swimmer’s ear.
- Decreased hearing and feeling of stuffiness or heaviness in the ear
- Pain and itchiness in the ear
- Soft and white earwax
- Lymph nodes in the neck and ear swelling
- Sharp and sudden earache
- Milky and yellowish ear discharge
- Sore and scaly outer ear skin
- Humming or buzzing noises heard in the ear
Aside from swimming in chlorinated or contaminated water, there are also other possible causes of swimmer’s ear, such as:
- Diabetes – The earwax becomes too alkaline, triggering inflammation or infection in ear canal.
- Folliculitis – A hair follicle is infected..
- Shampoos, hairsprays, hair dye and other kinds of chemical irritants can enter the ear canal.
- Cleaning the ear using cotton buds or sharp fingernails can cause tearing in ear canal tissue.
Use Antiseptic Ear Drops
Medications are available to effectively solve this ear problem. Go to the nearest pharmacy and purchase antiseptic ear drops. These can be bought over-the-counter. Put a few drops in your ear using a medicine dropper (it usually comes with the ear drops), then shake your head to swish about the drops. Tilt your head to drain the canal out. These ear drops help kill bacteria or dry up excess water.
If antiseptic ear drops are not available, you can use isopropyl alcohol for the meantime. It will work the same way as the ear drops.
Try The Salt And Tube Sock Remedy
This is a natural remedy many people try. If your swimmer’s ear condition isn’t very bad, you can opt for this technique. Here’s what to do.
- Get a clean and freshly-laundered tube sock. Fill it with coarse salt, at least one cup. Use string to tie a knot at the end of the sock, so the salt won’t spill out.
- Place the tube sock in the microwave and warm it for two minutes. Let it cool, until it’s warm to the touch.
- Lie on your side, the same side where you have swimmer’s ear. Put the warm sock under the ear for 10 minutes. The sock’s heat helps relieve the swelling, while the salt draws out the water, removing your swimmer’s ear problem.
Use White Vinegar
With its numerous uses, it’s no surprise that white vinegar can be effective when curing swimmer’s ear. The acetic acid stops bacterial growth. Put several drops of white vinegar in the infected ear, leaving it in the canal for five minutes, then draining it out. Repeat this twice everyday for three days.
Relieve The Pain
The pain is the most unbearable part of having swimmer’s ear. If it becomes too much, use medications such as pain killers. There are also ear drops that effectively relieve the pain. Make sure you take in or use the correct dosage to avoid complications.
A hot water bottle or heating pad can also ease swimmer’s ear pain. Just put it on the side of your head, near the infected ear for a few minutes. Do this as often as needed. If the patient is a child, keep the heating pad’s temperature on low, so his or her skin won’t be burnt.
Other Home Remedies
There are several other remedies against swimmer’s ear that you can find within your home. Here are some popular examples.
- Heat some baby oil, and when it’s aptly warmed, pour it in your ear (make sure it’s not too hot). Put a cotton ball, to avoid draining the oil.
- Combine equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide, water and white vinegar, then apply with a medicine dropper. Drain the solution after a few minutes.
- Evaporate the water molecules with the help of a hair dryer. Set the dryer to warm, then sway it across the ear.
- Apple cider vinegar also works like white vinegar. Dilute three drops with the same amount of water, then apply to the ear after you swim. This will stop further infection.
Consult Your Doctor
Swimmer’s ear, when not treated quickly, can result to worse dilemmas. When the lymph glands are already swollen, if the ear is too swollen that it’s shut and very painful, or when a fever comes with the infection, then it’s time to visit your family doctor. He can prescribe better medications and treatment options to help solve the problem.
Tips To Prevent Swimmer’s Ear
- Don’t poke your ear with sharp objects or your fingers.
- If you know the water is dirty or polluted, avoid swimming in it.
- Wear a swimming cap or ear plugs every time you go in the water.
- Shake and tilt your head to remove excess water from ear after swimming.
- After treating swimmer’s ear, avoid going back in the water for 10 to 14 days or until the doctor has given you permission.
Don’t let swimmer’s ear prevent you from getting in the water. As long as you follow these tips, you can get rid of this annoying problem once and for all.
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