Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear can ruin your summer:

Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is an infection in the outer ear canal, which runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head. It’s often brought on by water that remains in your ear after swimming, creating a moist environment that aids bacterial growth.

Possible symptoms include:

  • Itchiness in the ear
  • Pain, which can become severe
  • Trouble hearing (sound may seem muffled as your ear canal swells)
  • Fluid or pus draining out of the ear

The most common cause of this infection is bacteria invading the skin inside your ear canal; however it can sometimes be brought on by a virus or fungus. If the skin gets scratched, germs can get into your ear canal and cause an infection. Putting your fingers, cotton swabs or other objects in your ears also can lead to swimmer’s ear by damaging the thin layer of skin lining your ear canal. Most of the time, your ear is able to fight off the germs that cause swimmer’s ear on its own. While it doesn’t get much respect, earwax helps protect the ear canal from damage and makes it difficult for germs to grow. Prompt treatment can help prevent complications and more-serious infections.



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