||Earol Swim® TTO FAQ's
Q What is swimmers ear? (Otitis Externa)
A This is an infection in the skin of the ear canal, similar to an infection anywhere else on the skin such as from a scrape or a bite. It is different from an ear infection, which occurs in the middle ear space behind the eardrum. Swimmer’s ear infection occurs externally to the ear drum in the ear canal.
Q How does swimmers ear occur?
A When water gets stuck in the ear canal after swimming or bathing, the water can irritate the skin of the ear canal. This irritated skin then gets invaded by bacteria. This infection will fester until it builds up enough to cause pain. This can occur over a few hours, or can take several days. Lake water is the most likely to cause an infection, followed by ocean water, bath water, then pool water.
Q How common is swimmers ear?
A Each year in the UK, swimmers ear affects around 1% of the population. Although anyone can get swimmers ear, it is slightly more common in women than in men. The percentage can increase greatly dependent on activities associated with water.
People with certain chronic (long-term) conditions are at greater risk of developing otitis externa. Such conditions include:
||● eczema (a skin condition)
● asthma (a condition that causes the airways to become inflamed, making breathing difficult)
● allergic rhinitis (a condition where an allergic reaction causes the inside of your nose to become inflamed)
Q How do I tell if my child has swimmer’s ear or an internal ear infection?
A Clues that your child has swimmer’s ear include:
||● Known exposure to water in the ear such as swimming or bathing.
● Ear pain with yawning or swallowing.
● Pus draining from the ear canal.
● There is usually no fever associated with swimmer’s ear.
● Try the ear movement test:
● Push on the anterior ear flap – the small flap of ear that covers the ear canal.
● Pull back and up on the entire ear.
● Push on the face just in front of the ear.
● If any of these movements cause severe pain, then that is a big sign of swimmer’s ear. Try the test on the other ear. Swimmer’s ear is even more likely if the unaffected ear does not hurt with this test.
● Absence of any cold symptoms – if there is an actual internal ear infection, there will most often be runny nose and congestion prior to the ear infection. If your child has no cold symptoms, then a swimmer’s ear is much more likely with the above symptoms.
● Visit HL Healthcare's ear care page for a discussion on how to tell if an internal infection may be present.
Q What should I do if I have swimmers ear?
A Consult your Doctor or Nurse immediately.