Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Can I get swimmers ear from chlorinated pool water?
- How much swimming is too much swimming?
- Am I more likely to get swimmers ear if I have small eustachian tubes?
- Should my baby wear ear plugs in the bath and in pools? Are those safe?
- Can repeated infections cause serious hearing loss?
- Can I get swimmers ear from taking showers?
Risk Factors For Swimmers Ear
Swimmers ear can happen to anyone, but you might be at a greater risk of developing it if you:
- Are a regular swimmer
- Scratch or scrape the ear canal with your finger or with a cotton bud
- Have an existing skin condition like eczema or psoriasis
- Have excess earwax, wear hearing aids, or use a swimming cap
Is It Possible To Have Water In The Inner Ear
The ear is divided into three parts, the outer ear that ends on the eardrums, the middle ear and the inner ear. It is not possible for water to get into your inner ear.
Most people who complain of water getting stuck in their inner ear either mean in their middle ear or ear canal which is part of the outer ear.
Read Also: How Do You Say Hearing Aid In Spanish
How Is Swimmers Ear Diagnosed
Your doctor will look inside your ears. As they do, touching or moving it may hurt. The infected ear will appear red and swollen. It also may look scaly. Your doctor will check your eardrum for infection or a hole. They may not be able to see the eardrum due to swelling.
Your doctor may take a sample of fluid from the ear to send to a lab. The lab is checking for bacteria or fungus.
Health Hazards Of Swimming In A Dirty Pool
If you use a community swimming pool, you often have to share it with other children and adults. Public pools make it more challenging to ensure your pool is clean and safe for swimming.
As in your pool, ;chlorine may be on the top of your list of pool supplies, but may not be enough to kill the various germs and bacteria in your pool. Several water-borne diseases may spread such as:
Read Also: Is It Important To Clean Your Ears
Joy Victory Managing Editor Healthy Hearing
Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results;to the public.;She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.Read more about Joy.
When To See A Doctor
Water in the ear is usually not a problem. Most of the time, you can easily drain trapped fluid using one of the methods mentioned above. However, there are some circumstances in which you will want to see your doctor; for example, if the trapped fluid has led to an ear infection. Other signs to go see your doctor include:
You May Like: How To Donate Old Hearing Aids
Complications Of Swimmer’s Ear
- Chronic otitis externa – infection persists, or else keeps recurring.
- Narrowing of the ear canal – repeated infections can cause the ear canal to be narrowed by scar tissue. The risk of swimmer’s ear is increased if water can’t drain out properly. Narrow ear canals may also affect hearing.
- Facial infection – the infection may escape the ear canal, down small holes in the surrounding cartilage, and lead to painful facial swelling.
- Malignant otitis externa – the infection may spread to the bones and cartilage of the skull.
What Conditions Cause Swimmer’s Ear
Conditions that can lead to swimmer’s ear include:
- Water that gets trapped in the ear canal, for example from swimming or showering often
- Loss of ear wax a natural protectant due to too much water entering the ear canal or removing too much wax when cleaning ears
- Injury to ear caused by putting objects into the ear, such as fingers, pen/pencils, paper clips, hair clips
- Swimming in polluted water
- Other skin conditions that affect the ear canal, such as eczema or psoriasis
You May Like: How To Soothe Ear Infection In Baby
Continue Learning About Ear Disorders
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
How To Keep Your Pool Clean
While cleaning the pool may appear a daunting task, you can always use chlorine as a way to kill most germs. Keep filters clean. You can also use a pool vacuum regularly to clean the floor of the swimming pool.
As pool specialists, we cant ignore the need for proper pool maintenance. If you dont have the time for the pool maintenance, hire a reliable and experienced pool maintenance company near you. Dont neglect your swimming pool until it turns green and becomes a liability. Invest in your pool and increase the life of your asset with regular upkeep and maintenance plans.
Recommended Reading: How To Clean Ear Wax With Water
Food Poisoning From A Pool
Another icky problem caused by fecal contamination? E. coli. Nearly 60 percent of public pools were positive for the bacteria, according to a 2013 study from the CDC. The bright spot is that most E. coli are harmless, and none of the samples collected were the strain that causes illness. Nonetheless, this is evidence that the strains that can make you very ill with stomach cramps and diarrhea can survive in a pool. If you get sick within one or two days of swimming, theres a good chance the pool is to blame, says Dr. DeSimone. Dont miss these;foods that have natural antibacterial properties.
Steam Treatment Or Hot Compress
img source: wp.com
Another simple but effective way to get rid of water in your ear is by the use of steam. Put hot water in a big bowl, cover yourself with a towel and inhale the steam slowly for about five to ten minutes before tilting your head towards the affected ear for water to flow out. Hot ear compress will have a similar effect.
You May Like: Can Tinnitus Be In One Ear Only
Your Pool Could Be Making You Sick
If youve ever been sick after swimming, it may have been due to contaminated pool water. According to a 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , more than 27,000 people have gotten sick from pools, hot tubs, and splash pads. Luckily, there are precautions you can take to make sure you dont add yourself to that number. If you have a pool, it all starts with your water source. Here are 17 things you need to know about tap waterand whether yours is safe.
Risks Of Having Water Stuck In The Ear
Although having water stuck in an ear is not a death threatening condition, if unchecked, the extra moisture can lead to infection and pain. One of the most common causes of the swimmers ear is ignoring water in-ear from swimming pools, ocean, lake or river which might be contaminated with fungi, bacteria, or viruses.
Furthermore, leaving water in your ears for weeks or months or ignoring some of the conditions that arise from water getting inside your ears can lead to permanent ear damage or permanent hearing impairment among other health risks such as cyst formation, eardrum inflammation, among others. This is perhaps a reason why you should get rid of water in the ear immediately.
Don’t Miss: How To Relieve Clogged Ear From Ear Infection
How To Get Rid Of Fluid In The Ear
When theres fluid in your ear, you want to avoid getting an infection or sustaining damage. Thats why getting water out of the ears is important. Luckily, its also easy. There are variety of remedies, treatments, and methods that are effective for removing water from your ear. Often, there is no need for a doctor; the easiest methods for how to get fluid out of your ear can be done at home, safely and quickly.
Treatment For Swimmer’s Ear
- Thorough cleaning and drainage of the ear canal
- Measures to keep the ear canal dry, such as using earplugs or a shower cap while bathing
- Heat packs held to the ear
- Anti-fungal preparations
- A wick inserted into the ear canal to deliver medicated drops close to the eardrum
- Oral antibiotics
- Surgery, to treat and drain infected skull bones.
Recommended Reading: How To Set Up Signia Hearing Aids
‘hot Tub Rash’ Causes Itchy Red Bumps Or Pus
This itchy rash, formally known as Pseudomonas folliculitis, occurs when the microscopic Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria comes into contact with your skin for a long period of time. It can show up in hot tubs, pools, and lakes.
Although it may seem like the heat could kill unwanted guests, hot tubs are actually more prone to bacteria than pools because disinfectives like chlorine break down faster in high temperatures.;
The good news is that, while it’s uncomfortable, hot tub rash will usually clear up on its own in a few days.;
An Ounce Of Prevention
Many people say that adding chlorine to a pool can kill all potentially disease-causing germs, and that’s true — to a degree. Chlorine in properly disinfected pools kills most germs that can cause RWIs in less than an hour, but it takes longer to kill some germs, such as cryptosporidium, which can survive for days in even a properly disinfected pool.
“The best way to prevent diarrhea is not to swallow water,” Greene says. Also, don’t swim when you have diarrhea because you can spread germs in the water and make other people sick. Take a shower before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers because germs on your body end up in the water.
By contrast, risk factors for swimmer’s ear may include swimming/diving; perspiration; high humidity; mechanical trauma such as removal of wax, use of cotton dabs, and fingernails; hearing aids orÂ;headphones; drying soap or shampoo; and a history eczema and psoriasis, Greene says.
The best ways to prevent it? Tilt and tug, says Greene. Put another way: “dry ears thoroughly by tilting your head to the side and tugging the ear lobe to let the water out after swimming,” he explains.
Crissy Perham, a three-time Olympic medalist in swimming and now a high school coach, adds that “drying your ears out, getting ear plugs, or wearing swim caps pulled over your ears helps prevent swimmer’s ear.”
Showering before and after taking a dip in lakes, ponds, and oceans can help with prevention of skin rashes.
Read Also: Does Sign Language Have Different Languages
A Very Common Problem
Swimmers ear, also known as otitis externa, affects;millions of people every year. The numbers rise in the summer, with nearly half of cases occurring between June and August. Though mostly associated with childrenas they are more susceptible due to narrower ear canalsswimmers ear can affect people of any age. It also occurs five;times more often in swimmers than in the general population.
Even the nickname swimmers ear is somewhat of a misnomer; although common to swimmers, you dont have to be a swimmer to get it. Sometimes just living in a hot and humid climate is enough for moisture to build up and become trapped.
Water that stays in the ear after swimming or even showering, if you don’t get all of the moisture out and get it good and dry, then it can lead to swimmer’s ear.”
“Bacteria proliferate in a warm, moist environment,” said Bridget Redlich, infection preventionist at Lake Charles Memorial Health System in Louisiana. Water that stays in the ear after swimming or even showering, if you don’t get all of the moisture out and get it good and dry, then it can lead to swimmer’s ear.”
Can I Prevent Ear Infections When My Child Swims
My daughter swims year-round and has started getting swimmer’s ear. Can we prevent these infections? Jovana
Swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa, is common in kids;who spend a lot of time in the water. Water can sit in the ear canal and lead to irritation and infection of the outer ear.
The good news is there are ways to help prevent outer ear infections. Your daughter can:
- Wear a bathing cap or removable earplugs when she swims to help keep the ear canals dry.
- Tip her head from side to side after getting wet;to let the water drain out.
- Use a hair dryer on a low setting, at least 12 inches away, to dry her ears.
If her ears still aren’t drying out, talk to your doctor about using ear drops at the end of a swim. These help dry up the water in her ears and prevent infection.
Your daughter;should not clean her ears with cotton swabs or put any other objects in her ears. These can scratch the skin and let bacteria or fungi get in. Ear wax is actually good and can protect against swimmer’s ear.
Doctors can treat swimmer’s ear with antibiotic drops. Your daughter should stay out of the pool while she’s recovering. Make sure she uses the antibiotics for as long as the doctor says, even if she feels better sooner. That’s the best way to kill the harmful germs.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Life Expectancy Of Hearing Aids
Norton Childrens Medical Group
Our trusted pediatricians provide routine well checks and treat minor illnesses and injuries, often with same-day appointments.
- Pain made worse by pulling on the outer ear
- Itching and redness in ear canal
- Clear drainage
- Swelling of the ear canal
Keeping the ears dry can help prevent swimmers ear, Dr. Mattingly said. Use earplugs while swimming or over-the-counter drops after swimming.
If treatment is not immediately available for swimmers ear, there is little need to worry. Parents may safely treat the pain and symptoms until they are able to seek medical treatment. However, in extreme cases, it can lead to secondary infections, such as cellulitis, and bone or cartilage damage.
With both infections perforation of the eardrum is a risk, so you should seek treatment. In addition, persistent presence of fluid in the ear has the potential to affect hearing and speech in children.
If Prevention Isn’t Enough
If you have diarrhea one to two weeks after swimming, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Antidiarrheal medicine may help, but talk to your doctor before taking it.
As for swimmer’s ear, new treatment guidelines published in April 2006 suggest that antibiotic ear drops are the treatment of choice for swimmer’s ear, yet up to 40% of kids with swimmer’s ear get oral antibiotics instead.
But, Greene says, “they don’t work, and when you give them, you give 100 to 1,000 times higher a dose then you do with the drops, and get everywhere in the body, so you get side effects and increased bacterial resistance. There is absolutely no reason for a healthy, normal child to get oral antibiotics as first-line therapy for swimmer’s ear.”
Some eardrops are now available in once-a-day formulations, he says. For pain, oral medication can be given immediately.
Most cases of swimmer’s itch do not require medical attention, but not scratching and using anti-itch cream can help. Hot tub rashes usually clear up in a few days without medical treatment.
From First Kicks to First Steps
Also Check: Does Warm Compress Help Ear Infection
How To Prevent Swimmers Ear
There are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of developing swimmers ear. These include things like:
- Wearing ear plugs designed for swimming to keep any water out of your ear canal
- If youre not sure how clean the water is steer clear
- After youve been swimming, tip your head to the side to let any excess water out
- Use a clean towel to dry the outside of your ears after a shower, bath, or swimming
- Never try to get earwax out yourself with your finger, cotton buds, or hairpins
What Are The Complications Of Swimmer’s Ear
If left untreated, swimmer’s ear may cause other problems such as:
- Hearing loss from a swollen and inflamed ear canal. Hearing usually returns to normal when the infection clears up.
- Ear infections that keep coming back
- Bone and cartilage damage
- Infection spreading to nearby tissue, the skull, brain, or the nerves that start directly in the brain
You May Like: What Does Ringing In Your Ears Mean
Use Rubbing Alcohol And Vinegar
One home remedy for water in the ears is a mixed solution of 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% vinegar. Mix these ingredients and put them into an eye dropper, then put a few drops into your clogged ear and tilt your head for relief. This home remedy can be very effective in removing the water. The acid in the solution helps break down ear wax, which may be helping to trap water in your ear, and the alcohol can help evaporate the water. Vinegar also has antibacterial properties, which can help kill off bacteria and germs.
When using a solution like this, its important to take some precautions: dont use more than a few drops, dont leave the solution in your ear without draining it, and dont use it if you have a punctured ear drum or pain from water in the ear.
Tips To Prevent Ear Infection:
- Keep your child away from cigarette smoke.
- Avoid bringing your child in contact with sick people for the first year of life.
- Breastfeed your child for the first 6 to 12 months.
- Position your child upright during feedings.
- Keep your childs immunizations up to date.
- Keep your childs allergies under control.
Read Also: Does Water In Ear Cause Vertigo
How To Remove Water In Ear After Swimming Immediately
While swimming, water can get into your ears, you do not have to wait until you get home to remove it. Instead, try the various steps or remedies which employ gravity, help in stretching ear canal, or pushes eardrum outwards. Some of these simple steps to remove water stuck in your ears include:
Other Types Of External Otitis
Acute localized external otitis occurs when a hair follicle in the ear becomes infected. A painful, pus-filled bump, called a furuncle, may form in the ear canal. This infection is a type of furunculosis.
Chronic external otitis can result from infection, allergies, or a skin condition, such as eczema. To warrant the diagnosis, the symptoms must persist for at least 3 months, and they can last for years.
The ear has several ways of protecting itself from infection.
Cerumen, or earwax, is produced by glands in the ear canal, and it performs several functions.
For example, earwax:
- forms a thin, waterproof film on the skin of the ear canal
- contains acids and antibacterial properties, which combat bacteria
- collects debris, dead skin, and dirt and transports them out of the ear, where they appear as a waxy clump at the opening of the ear canal
The shape of the ear canal is also important. It slopes downward from the middle to the outer ear, so that liquid can drain.
External otitis can develop when the ear canals defenses cannot cope with an infection or an allergic reaction.
The following factors increase the likelihood of contracting swimmers ear:
- swimming, especially in water with high levels of bacteria
- cleaning, prodding, scratching, or scraping the ear canal with a cotton swab
- wearing a swim cap, using a hearing aid, or having a lot of earwax, which can trap water inside the ear
- having a skin condition, such as eczema, acne, or psoriasis
- having a small ear canal
Read Also: How To Deal With Ear Infection
What Is The Treatment For Chronic Swimmers Ear
Before you begin treatment, your doctor may need to clear any discharge or debris in the ear. This procedure uses suction or an ear curette, which has a scoop on the end.
For most cases of chronic swimmers ear, treatment will begin with antibiotic eardrops to cure a bacterial infection. If your ear is very swollen, your doctor may have to insert a cotton or gauze wick into your ear to allow the eardrops to travel into the ear canal.
Treatments with antibiotic eardrops typically last for 10 to 14 days. Its important to finish the course of eardrops, even if the pain and symptoms subside before the end of the course.
Other treatments for chronic swimmers ear include:
- corticosteroids to lessen inflammation
- vinegar eardrops to help restore your ears normal bacterial balance
- antifungal eardrops for infections caused by fungi
- acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain or discomfort
Your treatment may be modified to include oral antibiotics, especially if eardrops havent helped. Your doctor may also prescribe pain relievers to relieve pain that has increased in severity or has lasted a long time.
High doses of IV antibiotics treat cases of chronic swimmers ear with malignant otitis externa, especially in older adults or people with diabetes.
During your treatment, you will get the best results if you do not:
You can reduce your risk of developing chronic swimmers ear by following these practices:
Protecting Your Ears From Water
You can minimise your chance of developing ear infections from swimming by finding out if a pool or hot tub is properly maintained and treated with chlorine before jumping in. If you enjoy swimming in natural bodies of water, stay away from stagnant areas that are more likely to have high levels of bacteria. Also, do some research to find out if a water source may be a safety risk.You can further protect your ears by wearing earplugs when swimming to prevent water from getting inside. Disposable, water-resistant earplugs are available at any drug store, but if youre a more regular swimmer, you might want to get custom-made ear protection for a reusable solution.If you feel the sensation of water in your ears after a swim, there are a couple things you can do to remove it:
- Dry your outer ear with a soft towel without sticking it in the ear canal.
- Lean your head to one side while pulling gently on your ear lobe to help the water flow out.
- Place a few drops of rubbing alcohol, a solution of rubbing alcohol and vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide in the ear to help the water evaporate.
- Chewing or yawning can help open the eustachian tubes and remove water from your ears.
- Steam can also open the eustachian tubes. Place your face above a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head and inhale the steam for five to 10 minutes.