Health News

Swimmer’s Ear?? But I haven’t been near a pool in months!

Diving in the pool probably hasn’t been on your to-do list lately. So those diagnosed with What’s Going Around this week may be confused about how they came down with an illness that is most often associated with swimming and summertime. Otitis Externa, more commonly known as Swimmer’s Ear, is What’s Going Around.

Centra Care physicians have seen the greatest increase in patients with the illness at the following locations:

Mount Dora – up 800%
Kissimmee – up 300%

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While Otitis Externa (outer ear infection) commonly occurs after swimming or bathing as a result of an infection that develops in trapped water that irritates the canal, Centra Care physicians explain that there are other ways in which it develops and attribute recent, cooler weather as the likely culprit for the increase in diagnoses.

With less humidity in the winter air, people can develop itchy, dry skin conditions, especially irritation of the fragile skin of the ear canal.  Scratching the ear with fingernails and q-tips, or even just irritation from the ear-buds of an MP3 player, can result in painful inflammation.  Your earwax will protect the ear canal from drying out; so don’t make things worse by removing it.

Even with preventative measures, you may still fall ill. Here are the symptoms to look for:

  • Ear Pain
  • Fluid draining from the ear
  • Muffling of hearing
  • Swelling and redness of the ear canal opening
  • Pain if ear is gently wiggled

See a physician if you suspect that you or your child has Otitis Externa. If it is bacterial in nature you will be prescribed prescription antibiotic eardrops, oral antibiotics, or both.