During the warmer months, it can seem like there’s water, water everywhere-the beach, the pool, the lake, the sea shore. Before you make a splash, health experts suggest you get a jump on healthy water fun and get the facts about swimmer’s ear.
Swimmer’s ear is a very common and painful infection of the outer ear canal. When water gets into the ear, it can become trapped in the ear canal, turning the area moist and spongy and allowing bacteria to grow. Most frequently, swimmer’s ear develops with consistent, extended exposure to water. For this reason, swimmer’s ear is very common during the summer months, and most often in older children and young adults.
Yet, swimmer’s ear can occur at any time of the year with excessive water exposure, or in humid or tropical climates. Other common causes of swimmer’s ear include skin problems, such as flaky skin within the ear canal, or the insertion of foreign objects into the ear, both of which can lead to infection.
The most outstanding symptom of swimmer’s ear is severe ear pain that gets worse when the earlobe is touched or moved. Often there is itching in the ear canal before the pain begins and there also may be a milky discharge from the ear opening. Hearing may decrease in the affected ear if pus in the ear canal or swelling of the ear canal blocks passage of sound into the ear.
The swimmer’s ear treatment most commonly prescribed by ear doctors and pediatricians is an ear drop called Ciprodex® Otic Suspension. This unique treatment combines two medications-one is an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the pain and swelling of swimmer’s ear, and the other is a potent antibiotic that eliminates the infection. While most other antibiotic ear drops need to be used for 10 days, Ciprodex® Otic is used just twice a day for only seven days, and it can be used in children as young as six months. Some of the most common side effects associated with this ear drop are pruritis, ear debris and superimposed ear infections.
To prevent swimmer’s ear, don’t place small objects in your ears. After any water exposure, dry the ears thoroughly but gently. Ear plugs can be used to help keep water out of your ears.
Experts recommend that when swimmer’s ear strikes visit your doctor to determine the best treatment option for you.