How To Tell If You Have Swimmer's Ear

June 21, 2024

Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is a common condition that affects swimmers and individuals who spend time in the water. It occurs when water becomes trapped in the ear canal, creating a moist environment that allows bacteria or fungi to grow and cause infection. In this blog, we’ll explore the signs and symptoms of swimmer’s ear to help you identify this condition early and know when to seek appropriate medical attention.

For same-day swimmer’s ear diagnosis and treatment, visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care South Plainfield. Our team of medical professionals is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care in the South Plainfield, NJ area. Just walk-in today!

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Understanding Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is typically caused by water remaining in the ear after swimming or spending time in the water, creating an environment conducive for bacterial or fungal growth. There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing swimmer’s ear. This includes excessive moisture in the ear. Water exposure from swimming, diving, or even humid weather can contribute to the condition. Additionally, injuries to the skin of the ear canal from using cotton swabs or hearing aids can further provide an entry point for bacteria or fungi. The duration of swimmer’s ear can vary depending on the severity of infection, but in general, it can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

How To Identify Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of swimmer’s ear is essential for prompt treatment and relief. Here are some common signs to watch out for:

1. Ear Pain: The most characteristic symptom of swimmer’s ear is intense ear pain, which can worsen when the outer ear is touched or pulled. The pain is often sharp and in some cases may radiate to the jaw or neck.

2. Itching in the Ear Canal: Many people with swimmer’s ear experience itching inside the ear canal, which can be accompanied by a feeling of fullness or blockage.

3. Redness and Swelling: The skin of the outer ear and ear canal may appear red and swollen. In severe cases, the ear canal can become narrowed or completely blocked by swelling.

4. Discharge: Fluid or pus may drain from your ear, which can be yellow or greenish in color. This discharge may also have a foul odor.

5. Decreased Hearing: Due to swelling and fluid buildup in the ear canal, it’s not uncommon to notice a temporary decrease in hearing ability.

6. Fever: In some cases, especially if the infection is severe, you may develop a low-grade fever.

Swimmer’s Ear Treatment and Prevention

Preventing swimmer’s ear involves taking proactive steps to keep the ear canal dry and avoid creating an environment for bacterial or fungal growth. Use earplugs or a swim cap while swimming to minimize water exposure, and be sure to dry the ears thoroughly after swimming. Avoid inserting objects like cotton swabs into the ear, as this can irritate the canal and potentially introduce bacteria. In terms of treatment, mild cases of swimmer’s ear often respond well to antibiotic or antifungal ear drops, which helps clear the infection and reduce inflammation. For more severe cases, a healthcare provider may need to clean the ear canal and prescribe stronger medications. Prompt treatment is crucial to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications, ensuring a quicker recovery.

Get Walk-In Swimmer’s Ear Treatment at AFC Urgent Care South Plainfield

If you suspect that you have swimmer’s ear or are experiencing persistent ear pain, seeking medical attention promptly can help shorten the duration of infection and alleviate discomfort effectively. At AFC Urgent Care South Plainfield, you don’t need an appointment or a referral to be treated promptly and compassionately by a board-certified medical professional. We’re open seven days a week and welcome walk-in patients. Our facility accepts most health insurance plans and offers low-cost options for self-paying patients. If you have any additional questions about swimmer’s ear treatment, or other services we provide, please contact our team directly at (908) 222-3500.

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