What is Swimmer’s Ear?
It is a bacterial infection in the outer ear canal. Medically, it is known as Acute External Otitis or Otitis Externa. Swimmer’s ear usually occurs due to the accumulation of water or excessive moisture in the ear canal that facilitates bacterial growth. As the name suggests, this problem mostly affects the swimmers as the water directly reaches the ear canal while swimming. Excessive production of earwax, a narrow ear canal and swimming in bacteria-containing water are some of the factors that expose you to the risk of developing this condition. Swimmer’s ear is really painful, accompanied with a feeling of fullness and itching in the ear. It is not a serious problem and can be cured if treated properly with precautions.
The major causes of swimmer’s ear are:
- Accumulation of excessive moisture in the ear canal due to swimming and even during a shower leads to an infection.
- Inserting cotton swabs or any other pointed object can also lead to damage of the ear canal and removal of the protective layer of ear wax, thus allowing bacteria to grow in the ear canal.
- Using ear plugs, headphones, hearing aids and any other device may cause an infection in the ear canal.
- Use of hair dyes, hair sprays and shampoos may also lead to an infection in the ear.
Depending on the stage of the condition, the symptoms may vary from mild to severe.
These symptoms are seen during the initial stage of swimmer’s ear.
- Odourless and clear discharge from the ears
- Slight redness in the ear
- Itching in the air canal
These warning signs appear during progressed stage.
- Stifled hearing
- Fluid, debris and swelling in the ear canal gives a feeling of blockage or fullness in the ear
- Pain that increases with movement
- Discharge of pus
- Severe itchiness
- Discharge of fluids in higher amounts
- Increase in the redness
These signs are seen during advanced stage.
- Swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck region
- Swelling and redness in the outer ear
- Complete blockage of the ear canal
- Intense pain that radiates from ear to face, neck and sides of head
- Flaking or scaling of outer ear’s skin
Home Remedies to Cure Swimmer’s Ear
How to cure swimmer’s ear? What to do for swimmer’s ear? If you are searching for the answers of these questions, you are at the right place! Here are some home remedies for swimmer’s ear treatment. Consult a doctor for proper medication in case of moderate and severe symptoms.
1. Hydrogen Peroxide
One of the most common swimmer’s ear home remedies is hydrogen peroxide. Pour 4-5 drops of hydrogen peroxide into the infected ear. Let it settle for some time, and then drain it out by tilting your head downwards.
2. White Vinegar
Pour few drops of white vinegar in some water, and put this solution into the infected ear. White vinegar gives a quick relief from pain and itching due to the infection. You can also mix white vinegar with rubbing alcohol for a speedy recovery from swimmer’s ear.
3. Olive Oil
Pour few drops of warm olive oil in the infected ear with a dropper. Its antiseptic properties will reduce the infection. It gives fast relief from swimmer’s ear.
4. Heat Therapy
Dip a washcloth in hot water or take a warm water bottle and place it against the infected ear. It is a good remedy for swimmer’s ear pain relief.
5. Garlic Oil
This is another good natural cure for swimmer’s ear. Grate some garlic and soak it in the olive oil for a night. Strain it the next day, and put at least 3 drops into the infected ear after warming it up a bit.
6. Mineral Oil
This is another great remedy for swimmer’s ear. Pour few drops of mineral oil before going for a swim. This reduces the risk of bacterial growth in the ear canal.
7. Over-the-counter Medicines
You can take over-the-counter drugs, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which are good home remedy for swimmer’s ear pain.
Insert rubbing alcohol in the troubled ear with the help of a dropper. To distribute the alcohol evenly, move your head around. Then, tilt your head downwards to drip out the alcohol.
Homeopathic Treatment for Swimmer’s Ear
Chamomilla, Hepar sulphuris, Aconitum napellus, Mercurius solubilis, Pulsatilla, and Belladona atropa are some of the homeopathic medicines for curing swimmer’s ear. You should keep in mind the symptoms while taking any medicine. Though, these medicines are natural and safe, but it’s better to consult a doctor before taking them.
- Do not swim in pools, ponds or lakes where the water is not clean.
- You can prevent swimmer’s ear infection by immediately draining out the water from your ears after swimming or bath. Tilt your head downwards to discharge water. Then, gently wipe it with a clean cloth or soft towel.
- Cover your head properlywith a swim cap or shower cap while swimming or taking a bath.
- If you are a regular swimmer, you can prevent yourselves from swimmer’s ear infection by using homemade swimmer’s ear drops before and after you go for swimming. Mix 1 part of white vinegar with 1 part of rubbing alcohol and put at least one teaspoon of this mixture into both the ears. Drain it after some time. This will prevent any bacterial or fungal growth in the ear canal.
- Avoid putting sharp or pointed objects into your ears.
- While applying hair dyes or hair sprays, put cotton balls in your ears.