Summer is here and the Tacoma Swim Club is rolling out a range of thrilling activities. You can join swim competitions such as the UPAC Mark Olson Classic on April 30 and the 1st Sockeye Spring Open on May 15. If you’re a beginner who just wants to have fun while beating the summer heat, you can also take swimming lessons at the club.
While this sport is a good way to exercise and keep cool during the summer season, it comes with risks such as an infection called swimmer’s ear. Known in the medical field as Otitis Externa, this infection occurs in the outer ear canal that goes from the eardrum to the outside of the ear. It is caused by bacteria or fungi that you can find in bodies of water. Humidity during summer can increase the risk of infection as it affects the condition of the ear canal’s skin.
Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment for swimmer’s ear will help you prevent it or get it taken care of quickly if you get the infection.
Too much exposure to water can cause swimmer’s ear. Because the ear canal gets wet, moisture builds inside, allowing bacteria and fungi to grow. Swimming in lakes and other bodies of water that have higher levels of bacteria increases the risk of getting this infection. Other causes aside from swimming include aggressive cleaning of the canal using cotton swabs, wearing headphones, ear plugs, and other objects that can let in and trap water.
Itching, redness, mild discomfort, and drainage of clear fluid are mild symptoms of swimmer’s ear. However, if the itching, redness, drainage, and pain increase, it means that the infection has already progressed to moderate levels. You can tell that it’s in advanced stage when the pain starts affecting your face and neck. It may also be accompanied by fever, complete ear canal blockage, and swelling. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to go to a Tacoma urgent care clinic.
Ear drops are one way to treat swimmer’s ear. However, it’s best if you can prevent it before you get the infection. Because summer is coming and you’ll probably hit the pool more frequently, you need to be prepared. Limit your time in the pool and avoid getting water inside the ear. In case water gets in, dry your ears out immediately. You can do this by pulling your earlobe in different directions while your head is turned to the side. Gently remove the water on the canal’s opening. You can also use a hair dryer to dry it out. Just make sure you’re using it at its lowest setting. If you’re not able to prevent swimmer’s ear and you feel any of the symptoms, immediately visit a provider of urgent care in Tacoma.
Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa), drugs.com
Swimmer’s ear, mayoclinic.org