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How to Treat Swimmer’s Ear

  • Category: General
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How to Treat Swimmer’s Ear

Ear infections are quite common and stem from various causes, but the most notable type of ear condition is swimmer's ear. Pain is often associated with this type of infection due to its root cause. Unfortunately, swimmer's ear can result in severe symptoms left untreated, but it can be cleared up within a few days if caught and treated correctly. 

What is swimmer's ear? 

Swimmer's ear is an infection of the outer ear canal that causes ear pain, redness, and inflammation. The ear canal is the tube that leads from your outer ear to your eardrum, and it's what allows you to hear. When this tube gets inflamed and swollen, it can lead to various symptoms, including temporary hearing loss, drainage, swelling, itchiness, redness or draining pus. 

Although swimmer's ear most commonly occurs after spending time in the water, it can be caused by scratches or sensitivity reactions to products or items near or around the ear—such as hair products or jewelry.  

Can you prevent swimmer's ear? 

The best way to avoid an inner ear infection is by preventing it from developing. While swimmer's ear may not entirely be avoidable, especially if you're outside during the summer swimming, there are preventative measures everyone can take. These include: 

  • Keeping the ears dry 

  • Using a towel to dry the ears thoroughly and tilting your head horizontally to allow water to escape the ear canal 

  • Avoiding putting objects into the ear canal or clearing out ear wax, as it provides a layer of protection 

The different treatment options for swimmer's ear 

Mild ear infections can be cleared without intervention, but because bacteria cause swimmer's ear, it may mean you'll need medication to treat the condition, especially if you have an earache and it's inflamed, swollen and painful. Warm compresses and over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate pain and some swelling. 

However, if the infection gets worse or unbearable, it's essential to seek a medical professional. Doctors will administer antibiotics in the form of ear drops or steroids to reduce inflammation. 

Ear infections can represent an underlying condition, and you should see a doctor if: 

  • Pus or blood is coming from the infected ear 

  • Ear pain is severe 

  • A child under six months old has an ear infection 

If you feel your condition is a true emergency, call 911. If you're experiencing extreme pain, have an earache or a fever, seek medical attention immediately and visit Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care

Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care's emergency room is open 24/7, and urgent care is available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. Appointments are unnecessary - walk in, and our healthcare professionals are ready to help at both of our locations.

Navarre - 8888 Navarre Pkwy., Navarre, FL 32566. Call the center at 850-750-5698.

Nine Mile - 9400 University Parkway Suite 101A Pensacola, FL 32514. Call the center at 448-227-4600.

Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care is comprised of board-certified ER-trained physicians and professionally trained ER nurses who deliver quality medical care. Our urgent care and emergency room can effectively treat various medical conditions. From fever to fractures, allergies to abdominal pain, and colds to concussions, we have you covered with on-site labs, CT, X-rays, and ultrasound.