Swimming has always been an enjoyable means of relaxation and exercise during the summer season. However, the experience can turn into a nightmare when you start feeling pain or discomfort in your ears. In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between the two conditions; swimmer’s ear and ear infection, and provide some helpful tips and remedies for curing your swimmer’s ear.
Swimmer’s Ear vs Ear Infection: Understanding the Difference
Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is a common condition that occurs when water enters the ear canal, causing bacterial or fungal growth. The symptoms typically include pain, itching, redness in the ear, and a feeling of fullness or pressure. It’s important to note that a swimmer’s ear is not the same as an ear infection, which usually occurs in the middle ear and is accompanied by a fever.
Swimmer’s ear usually occurs due to the accumulation of water or excessive moisture in the ear canal that facilitates bacterial growth. 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.
The causes of an ear infection are usually not due to water or moisture, but inserting cotton swabs or any other pointed object can also lead to damage to the ear canal and removal of the protective layer of ear wax, thus allowing bacteria to grow in the ear canal. The Use of ear plugs, headphones, hearing aids, and any other device may cause an infection in the ear canal. Or maybe because of some chemicals that have entered the ear recently such as hair dyes and sprays
Swimmer’s ear is really painful, accompanied by a feeling of fullness, and itching in the ear. It is not a serious problem if taken care of right away.
Depending on the stage of the condition, the symptoms may vary from mild to severe.
These symptoms are seen during the initial stage of the 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 a progressed stage.
- Stifled hearing
- Fluid, debris, and swelling in the ear canal give 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 the 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 the head
- Flaking or scaling of the outer ear’s skin
Curing Your Swimmer’s Ear
If you’re experiencing swimmer’s ear symptoms, try using a natural remedy such as rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, or any of the below solutions. Tilt your head to one side and pour a few drops into the affected ear. Gently massage the triangular flap of cartilage at the entrance to the ear canal to help the solution penetrate more deeply. You can repeat the process a few times a day until the pain and itching subside.
Home Remedies to Cure Swimmer’s Ear
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
2. White vinegar
3. Olive oil
5. 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 swimmers’ ear pain relief.
Debrox And Over-the-counter Medicine For Swimmer’s Ear
Solution number 6 is to take over-the-counter drugs, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which are instant relievers for swimmers’ ear pain. However they won’t eliminate the bacteria, so we always recommend the above remedies or homeopathic remedies beforehand or at the same time.
If natural remedies do not bring relief, you may consider using a commercial product like Debrox. Debrox is an over-the-counter earwax removal kit that contains hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. These ingredients help to soften and loosen earwax, making it easier to drain from the ear. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and avoid using Debrox if you have a perforated eardrum.
Homeopathic Treatment for Swimmer’s Ear
homeopathic remedy for swimmers’ ears is garlic oil. Simply warm a few drops of garlic oil and use a dropper to gently apply it to the affected ear. Garlic has natural anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties that can help to reduce inflammation and fight infections. You can also try using tea tree oil, which is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties.
7. Garlic oil
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.
8. Mineral oil
This is another great remedy for a swimmer’s ear. Pour a few drops of mineral oil before going for a swim. This reduces the risk of bacterial growth in the ear canal.
Chamomilla, Hepar sulphuris, Aconitum napellus, Mercurius solubilis, Pulsatilla, and Belladona atropa are some other homeopathic medicines for curing swimmer’s ears. 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 a 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 properly with a swim cap or shower cap while swimming or taking a bath.
- If you are a regular swimmer, you can prevent yourselves from a swimmer’s ear infection by using homemade swimmer’s ear drops before and after you go swimming. Mix 1 part of white vinegar with 1 part rubbing alcohol and put at least one teaspoon of this mixture into both 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.
When it comes to ear pain after swimming, it’s important to recognize whether you’re dealing with a swimmer’s ear or an ear infection. While they may have some overlapping symptoms, they are distinct conditions that require different treatments. Natural remedies such as rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, garlic oil, and tea tree oil, are great alternatives to traditional medicine. In some cases, a dependable product like Debrox may be needed, but read the instructions before use to ensure safe application. By understanding the differences between swimmers’ ear and ear infections and knowing how to treat them, you can quickly and easily get back to enjoying all that the pool or beach has to offer!