Swimmer's ear can put a damper on your pool time fun. It's so much more intricate then just getting some water in your ears. Here are 5 things you should know about swimmer's ear.
- What is it?
For starters, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines swimmer's ear as an infection to the outer ear canal. In the U.S. alone, around 2.4 million people visit the emergency room annually to get treated for it. It's widely known as swimmer's ear because many people have gotten it after taking a dip in the water, stated the American Academy of Otolaryngology.
- How do you know you have it?
You'll know. It's typically very painful and you'll experience some symptoms that'll let you know you might have it. Some of them include: itchy ears, sensitive ears – meaning if you accidentally touch them or there's pressure applied to them it'll hurt you, pus will drain from them and they'll likely be swollen, the CDC confirmed. In addition to pain around the ears, you may experience symptoms to other parts of your body. A fever, trouble hearing, swollen lymph nodes and neck and facial pains are all associated with the infection.
- Where does it come from?
If you own a pool, it's likely you've had to balance the chemicals. If this isn't properly done, you could get swimmer's ear because chlorine might not be able to disinfect the water if it's at an inadequate level. Swimmer's ear comes from bacteria that's lurking in the pool. However, be careful what you do outside of the pool because you can also increase the likelihood of getting swimmer's ear if you frequently use cotton swabs, have a skin condition and use hair spray and other chemicals near your ears frequently, stated the AAO. The infection thrives in your ears because moisture tends to stay there, but also because it's a place that bacteria can survive.
- Can I cure it?
Although it's painful and often inconvenient, swimmer's ear is treatable. Many times, you'll just need to get ear drops. In other cases, you might have to take antibiotics to get rid of it. Although it's easily treatable, you shouldn't ignore the symptoms because it usually doesn't go away on its own. This is a problem because it can lead to other complications. People with swimmer's ear may temporarily have difficulty hearing. Having swimmer's ear once might make you prone to ear infections in the future.
- Who can help?
Prevention is the best cure. To decrease your odds of getting swimmer's ear, be sure to get the water out of your ears after a swim. Keep in mind cotton swabs and other objects might hurt your ears and carry bacteria. While you're in the pool, wear a swimming cap, shake the water out of your ears and you can fan or dry your ears to reduce your chances of getting swimmer's ear, stated the CDC. If you experience one or more symptoms, it's a good idea to see your doctor because you may have swimmer's ear.
In addition to taking care of yourself, it's vital you balance your pH and chlorine levels in the pool. Although many people take the liberty of doing this themselves, you might find it's better to enlist the help of a company, such as San Diego pool service professionals. They'll install a salt system in your home free of charge if you're a client in good standing, which means less worrying about balancing your pool. Take precautions and proper care of your pool so swimmer's ear doesn't cut into your fun.