June 18, 2012
Taking a swim, listening to music and just hanging outside for the summer can be fun, but just like wearing sunscreen protecting your ears from infections is also important. In this week's What Going Around we're focusing on swimmer's ear.
Dr. Kathy Phan of Greene Family Medicine is providing our medical information.
Symptoms of swimmer's ear include pain, discharge and itching at the affected ear. People can also experience hearing loss and tenderness when touching the ear. Symptoms usually last for two weeks with treatment.
Swimmer's ear is more likely to occur in the summer because of increased humidity. Dr. Phan says patients should be aware if they wear headphones, have increased water exposure and a large amount of ear wax.
Dr. Phan recommends treating swimmer's ear with steroid ear drops and antibiotic ear drops. However, oral antibiotics can be used in more severe cases.
Dr. Phan says the best way to prevent swimmer's ear is to minimize trauma to the ear, do not scratch inside your ear, clean ears and ear pieces on headphones frequently and also keep your ears as dry as possible.
If left untreated, Phan says swimmer's ear can cause other complications.