Otitis Externa, commonly known as Swimmer’s Ear, is an extremely painful condition that affects the visible or outer part of our ear and the ear canal. Our ear canal is actually a cylindrical structure extending from the outermost portion of our ear above the lobe, to the eardrum.
The entire canal is around 2.5 centimeters long and 7.9 millimeters wide. The basic function of our ear canal is to defend the ear against infection and prevent entry of any foreign objects inside the ear. Besides, the outer part of the ear also produces ear wax which helps in trapping the debris entering inside the ear. It also produces an acidic environment which helps in keeping bacteria at bay.
Though it sounds so by its name, but actually swimmers ear can affect even those people who do not swim. It is caused due to entry of bacteria into the ear, and is characterized by severe pain inside the ear. Bacteria usually enter into the ear when the surface inside the ear is wet or moist. The more water enters inside the ear and the longer it remains moist, the more likely it is to be affected by the problem. When this happens, the skin inside our ear becomes leathery and macerated, resulting in a lot of discomfort. As a result, people try to dry their ear using a swab. This leads to pulling off a layer of the skin along with the protective bacteria present inside the ear which fight against the bad ones.
Though it is true that prevention is the best solution for swimmers ear, but if you are already suffering from it, knowing what you should do is extremely important.
Undoubtedly, the best way of treating swimmers ear is to keep the ear dry. Make sure to use ear plugs while swimming to prevent bacteria from entering inside the ear.
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While bathing or taking a shower, dry the ear properly. In case water enters inside the ear, take the help of a hair dryer to dry up the inner part of the ear. This will help prevent moisture from developing into a full-fledged infection.
Placing a warm towel on the ear will also be quite helpful. Applying warmth works as a natural cure for treating the pain associated with swimmer’s ear. Though it will not help to heal the problem but will surely help in minimizing the pain.
Rubbing alcohol on the affected ear is another great remedy to treat swimmer’s ear. Since it is known fact that alcohol helps in killing bacteria that is causing the pain, it can safely be used even with the first signs of itching in the ear. Simply take a dropper full of alcohol and insert in inside the ear canal. Allow it to remain in the ear for few second, then flip your head in the other direction and allow it to come out of the ear.
Vinegar is another effective remedy for treating swimmers ear as it kills the bacteria present inside the ear quite easily. You can use this remedies when you experience itching in the ear for the first time.
In case you are suffering from extreme pain in the ear, visit your doctors to get antibiotics prescribed.