Splish, splash, OUCH! Centra Care is warning that Swimmer’s Ear is What’s Going Around these days.
Otitis Externa (a.k.a. Swimmer’s Ear) is a painful outer ear infection that can develop when water gets trapped in the ear canal and irritates the canal.
The greatest increases of Swimmer’s Ear have been seen at the following Centra Care centers:
University – up 700%
Mount Dora – up 500%
Waterford Lakes – up 300%
Lake Buena Vista – up 350% in kids
Lee Road – up 300% in kids
While Swimmer’s Ear (obviously) occurs frequently after swimming, Centra Care physicians say that there are other ways in which it develops. Any break in that lining of the canal can increase your risk for infection. Besides swimming, the bacteria can also develop after bathing or scratching the ear canal with fingernails. Irritation can also occur when using cotton-tipped swabs or ear-buds of an MP3 player. Your earwax actually protects the ear canal from drying out.
Swimmer’s ear can cause pain, itching and decreased hearing.
- Use a blow dryer set on low to dry ears after swimming or bathing.
- After swimming, use over-the-counter, alcohol-based drops to evaporate trapped water in the ear.
- Don’t put any foreign objects in your ear.
- NO earplugs. They can irritate the skin surrounding the ear canal and can cause infection. Silicon earplugs can get stuck in the canal if not used properly.
Even with preventative measures, Otitis Externa can still occur. Symptoms will most likely include:
- Ear Pain
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Muffled 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 need a prescription.