Swimmer's Ear

Friday, June 29, 2012

Swimmers ear is an inflammation, irritation or infection of the outer ear, but you dont have to be in a swimming pool to get it. Dr. Edward Hill explains more in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Despite its name, you dont have to be a swimmer to get swimmers ear. Its often caused by excess moisture in the ear from swimming or even routine bathing. The moisture causes the skin inside the ear canal to flakea condition known as eczema. A break in the skin, often from scratching the persistent itch, allows bacteria or fungus to invade the ear canal and cause an infection.

Symptoms of swimmers ear include:

Itching inside the ear

Watery discharge from the ear

Severe pain and tenderness in the ear, especially when moving your head or pulling on your earlobe

A foul-smelling, yellowish discharge from the ear, and

Temporarily muffled hearing, caused by blockage of the ear canal

Swimmers ear is usually not a dangerous condition and often clears up on its own within a few days. If the pain worsens or does not improve within 24 hours, you should see your doctor. You may need antibiotic ear drops.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.