While most of the country is winding down their swim seasons, down here in the South, we can still swim outside for a number of months. What’s more, between swim team, playing in the sprinkler, and floating the river, we surround ourselves with water more often than not. With that comes a few issues to keep an eye on, including swimmer’s ear. Our team at Integrity Urgent Care can help you identify this issue and help you, or your child, feel better soon.
In simplest terms, swimmer’s ear is an ear infection of the outer ear canal. When water comes into the ear, it can pool in the ear canal and around the eardrum, leading to the growth of bacteria. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three different stages of symptoms.
1. Mild – slight itching, slight redness, some drainage of clear and odorless fluid
2. Moderate – itching and increasing pain, fullness in your ear, decreased hearing, and excessive fluid drainage
3. Advanced – fever, complete blockage of your canal, severe pain that radiates further in your face or neck, and redness or swelling in your outer ear.
In the mildest forms, you may be able to deal with the symptoms with mild irritation. There are also some ear drops available over the counter that could help when swimmer’s ear is in the earliest stages. If you are in considerable pain or you are not experiencing any relief, you may want to see a doctor depending on your level of discomfort. If you are in severe pain or are experiencing a fever, you need to come see our Integrity Urgent Care team right away.
When to See a Doctor
If this issue is persistent, extremely painful, or you feel you may be in the advanced stage listed above, you can find relief by coming to see our Integrity team. Patients with persistent swimmer’s ear may want to consult us to see if a specialist could help them with other issues that may be causing multiple cases. Swimmer’s ear or other infections may also be caused by or exasperated by damaging the ear canal from cotton swabs or other instrument. If you suspect this is the case, you need to seek medical attention to evaluate your inner ear(s).
Avoiding water-based activities won’t necessarily help since you can develop swimmer’s ear from a shower or other regular tasks. Instead, carefully drying out your ears after any water activity, including bath or shower, is a great way to start. Additionally, not using cotton swabs or any other instrument in your ear will help prevent extra damage to your ears. If you are prone to infections, swimmer’s ear or not, you may want to mention it to our Integrity team, so we can help see if there is a larger issue at hand.
If you are experiencing pain in your ears, for any reason, come see our Integrity team, we can help you get the treatment you need to get back to your favorite activities, whether it is swimming related or not. We have several clinics across Texas and will be happy to get you the care you need.