by Deena Bradford, LPN
It’s that time of year when most of us have either been to the pool or lake. I’m sure we have all heard about swimmer’s ear but are not really sure what it is, how to prevent it, or how to treat it once it occurs. Swimmer’s ear, or external otitis. is an inflammation of the external auditory canal. It is either bacterial or fungal and one of the causes is water in the ear canal. Pain, drainage, and tenderness are usually present. Occasionally, fever, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the ear are also noted.
Treatment is aimed at relieving the discomfort, reducing the swelling, and getting rid of the infection. Tylenol or ibuprofen is usually recommended for the discomfort. Your physician will usually prescribe a combination of antibiotics and steroids to help soothe the inflammation. If it is fungal, an antifungal medication is prescribed.
So how do you prevent swimmer’s ear?
- Wear ear plugs or a swim cap when the ear will be exposed to water.
- Be sure to dry the external canal after.
- Alcohol drops can be placed in external canal after water exposure unless contraindicated by a physician.
- After otitis externa is confirmed you need to stay of the water for 7-10 days to allow the canal to heal. The chances of recurrence are very high unless the ear canal is allowed to heal completely.
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Deena Bradford, LPN
6307 Waterford Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73118