With all the water play that happens in the summertime, it’s not uncommon for kids and adults to wind up getting water inside their ears from swimming or splashing around. This can lead to swimmer’s ear, an infection in the outer ear canal typically caused by moisture trapped in the ear after swimming. It doesn’t even take too much water to get a case of swimmer’s ear: it could happen from the bathtub, or rarely, even from water getting into your ear during a heavy rain! If you or your child gets swimmer’s ear, what can you expect and how do you get rid of it?
What happens if you have swimmer’s ear?
Getting water in your ear may make it difficult to hear and your ear may also feel blocked. Most times, the water will clear out on its own without having to do anything. But if the water does not dissipate on its own and you don’t treat it, you could develop swimmer’s ear, or an infection called otitis externa, which can cause swelling, irritation, and discomfort. Severe cases may lead to hearing loss or an infection spreading to the surrounding skin or other parts of the body, but this rarely happens.
What do doctors do to get rid of swimmer’s ear?
After your doctor’s office examines and diagnoses your swimmer’s ear, they will likely prescribe antibiotic ear drops along with antifungal ear drops if the infection is determined to be fungus-related. Other common remedies include vinegar ear drops to help restore the bacterial balance in the ear and corticosteroids to help reduce swelling. If you are in pain, your doctor may also recommend pain medications to ease your discomfort. While you’re still healing, you may be told to avoid flying, swimming, or doing anything that may lead to more water entering in your ear.
If you’re visiting Galveston and looking for a board-certified doctor that is open 24-7, walk in to Hospitality Health ER.