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Swimmers Ear - Otitis Externa

By Ryan Fyfe

The medical name for swimmers ear is Otitis externa. Otitis externa is also what we would call a common ear ache. It is an inflammation, infection or otherwise an irritation of the outer ear and inner ear canal.

Symptoms of Otitis externa include:

Decreasage in hearing or total hearing loss

Ear pain which may worsen when pulling on the outer of the ear

Drainage that comes from the ear

Itching of the inner ear or ear canalThis infection very common, especially among young adults and teenagers. One easy way to contract swimmer's ear is by swimming in polluted water. Also though, it is possible to contract the infection by swimming in a pool that is well maintained. Swimming in water isn't the only way to contract Otitis externa; Even simply water trapped in the ear canal after a shower can cause the infection. This is especially true of showering in a humid climate. The condition can also be caused by scratching the ear or having debree caught in it. Thus making water not the only cause.

Often times skin is damaged or irrated when trying to clean wax from the ear canal. This is especially true when using cotton swabs or small objects. Sometimes it is associated with middle ear infection or upper respiratory infections such as colds. Middle ear infections can occur after the ear drum is perforated by a fungal growth from the outer ear.

Physician are able to detect an ear infection by looking into the ear. An infected ear will in most cases look red and swollen on the outside and on inside of the ear canal. To treat an ear infection the ear canal should be cleaned completely of drainage. Cleaning the ear canal allows topical medications to work more effectively. If the infection is severe, it may be necessary for a doctor to aspirate the ear as twice a week for the first few weeks of treatment.


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