Summer is the time for swimming and having fun in the water.
Unfortunately, these activities can sometimes lead to a type of ear infection commonly called swimmer’s ear or otitis externa. Swimmer’s ear affects the outer ear canal and occurs when a small amount of water stays in the ear canal after a swim. The moist environment promotes the growth of microorganisms that can cause symptoms of swimmer’s ear. This condition can also result from irritation of the outer ear, caused by excessive cleaning of the outer ear canal or auricle, for example. Pain is the main symptom of swimmer’s ear, together with itchiness, a feeling that the ear is blocked, and a clear discharge or pus. These symptoms often appear several days after a prolonged swim. Treatment of swimmer’s ear consists mainly of relieving the pain, carefully cleaning the outer ear canal, and treating the infection, which is normally caused by bacteria. The infection rarely spreads to other parts of the ear and is generally limited to the outer ear canal. Antibiotic eardrops are often recommended. See your health professional for suggestions and tips on preventing swimmer’s ear!