Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa or an external ear infection, occurs along the lining of the outer ear canal. It is most common in children ages 5-18 during the summer months, when kids spend more time swimming. This common condition can have several causes beyond swimming. Swimmer’s ear can be caused by moisture that stays in the ear, abrasions to the outer ear or a decrease in the protective ear wax coating.
Swimmer’s ear symptoms are similar to other ear infections, such as pain or pulling at the earlobe. Other symptoms can include: redness, enlarged lymph nodes or discharge from the ear.
Keeping the ear canal dry is also essential to helping the ear heal. If the pain does not improve or is accompanied by a fever or swelling of the ear, it is best to be evaluated by a healthcare provider who can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment.
When it comes to a swimmer's ear, prevention is the key. Ear plugs and swim caps can help prevent water from entering the ear. Drying the ear canal completely can also help, but be sure to never put anything into the ear. For more prevention tips or if swimmer’s ear becomes a chronic issue, speak to one of our experienced providers at GoHealth Urgent Care for additional treatment options.