Swimmer’s Ear is also known by the medical term as “Otitis Externa”, is the infection of the outer ear canal, which runs from ear drum to the outside of your head. The ear canal is a cylinder-shaped structure that extends from the outer part of the ear, above the ear lobe, all the way to the eardrum (tympanic membrane). The typical size of the canal is about 2.5 centimetres in length and 7-9 millimetres in width.
The main function of the ear canal is to protect the middle ear from infection and entry of foreign objects. This function is accomplished by the length of the canal, making it difficult for objects to enter. In addition, the outer portion of the canal produces ear wax (cerumen) that helps trap debris entering the ear. It also produces an acidic environment that may be harmful to bacteria entering the ear. There is also hair in the ear canal which provides an additional barrier against debris entering the ear.
This disease is named as Swimmer’s Ears because it occurs most commonly in swimmers since their ears are generally moist due to their work and that develops perfect conditions for growth of bacteria.
Symptoms for this condition start as mild manifestations but can slowly develop into more severe conditions. They are as follows:
1) Itching in your ear canal.
2) Slight redness inside your ear.
3) Mild discomfort that’s made worse by pulling on your outer ear (pinna, or auricle) or pushing on the little “bump” (tragus) in front of your ear.
4) Some drainage of clear, odourless fluid.
When the problem progresses, the symptoms become more severe and can lead to the following:
1) Severe pain that may radiate to your face, neck or side of your head
2) Complete blockage of your ear canal
3) Redness or swelling of your outer ear
4) Swelling in the lymph nodes in your neck
Swimmer’s ear is more common among teenagers and young adults. It may occur with a middle ear infection or a respiratory infection such as a cold. Conditions that can weaken your ear’s defenses and promote bacterial growth include:
1) Excess moisture in your ear
Heavy perspiration, prolonged humid weather or water that remains in your ear after swimming can create a favorable environment for bacteria.
2) Scratches or abrasions in your ear canal
Cleaning your ear with a cotton swab or hairpin, scratching inside your ear with a finger, or wearing headphones or hearing aids can cause small breaks in the skin that allow bacteria to grow.
3) Sensitivity Reactions
Hair products or jewelry can cause allergies and skin conditions that promote infection.
Cleaning your outer ear canal is necessary to help eardrops flow to all infected areas. Your doctor will use a suction device or ear curette to clean away any discharge, clumps of earwax, flaky skin and other debris.
2) Medications For Infection
To treat swimmer’s ear, the doctor will provide medication that will have the following components.
Acidic solution to help restore your ear’s normal antibacterial environment.
Steroid to reduce inflammation.
Antibiotic to fight bacteria.
Antifungal medication to fight an infection caused by a fungus.
3) Medication For Pain
Your doctor may recommend easing the discomfort of swimmer’s ear with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve, others), or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
Natural Home Remedies
Swimmers ear home remedies are easy to use and very effective. Use these methods for simple and safe natural treatment.
Alcohol is well known disinfectant. Its used in many medicines as an active ingredient. For example, in case tincture iodine has alcohol as the chief component. A few drops of alcohol into the ears can do the trick since it can effectively destroy the bacteria present inside the ear canal. It is one of the best swimmers ear home remedies as well.
This another exemplary remedy for treating swimmer’s ears since it also has ample amounts of anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Using a dropper, pour in 5 drops of hydrogen perroxide into the ear canal and let it be there for some time. After a while tilt your head in the opposite direction and let the solution run out.
Pour few drops of white vinegar in some water, and put this solution into the infected ear. White vinegar gives a quick relief from pain and itching due to the infection. You can also mix white vinegar with rubbing alcohol for a speedy recovery from swimmer’s ear.
Garlic oil is another good natural home remedy for swimmer’s ear. A natural bacteria-fighter also helpful in boosting heart health and staving off colds, garlic can be used in treatment of swimmer’s ear. Simply, you can grate some garlic and soak it in the olive oil for a night. Afterwards, you strain it the next day, and put at least 3 drops into the infected ear after warming it up a bit. Although care should be taken if the patient has a punctured eardrum, then it should not be used as a potential cure.
Using coconut oil is one of good natural home remedies for swimmer’s ear. The oil helps decrease the pain. For witnessing faster results, you should warm 20ml of coconut oil and pour it drop by drop in your ear.
These are some of the best swimmers ear home remedies listed above. Use these on a daily basis for faster results.