Swimmers ear is a condition where the ear canal and the outer ear is infected. It is also called Otis Externa. The canal is the tubular structure that extends from the outer part to the ear drum. The primary function of the canal is to protect the ear from any foreign particle entering it. It prevents infection. The outer part of the canal produces a wax. This wax helps trap the dirt present so the dirt does not enter the ear. The small hair present also prevents dirt from getting into the ear. The ear canal therefore acts like a barrier against infection.
Anyone can get swimmers ear, but children are more prone to getting this. It occurs mostly when water enters the ear while swimming and in some cases while bathing. That's why the name is swimmers ear. When this canal lining breaks or gets damaged, it allows the bacteria or fungus to get in.
The reason for a swimmers ear is due to the breaking of the lining. This is often caused by the moisture in the ears due to water. This happens mainly after swimming if the ear is not dried properly. Inserting and poking with buds, pencils, pins can also damage the lining. Usage of head phones, plugs and hearing aids can cause infection.
Chemicals, dyes, shampoo, allergies, vigorous scratching is also responsible in swimmers ear. If the middle ear is infected and the pus drains to the outer canal, it can result in swimmers ear too. People with a low immunity or those who are diabetic are prone to suffering from this condition.
This condition is commonly caused by bacteria and in some cases by fungus. The symptoms are redness of the ear, inflammation of the ear canal, severe pain when touched, itching, ringing noises, swollen lymph nodes and fluid drainage. The hearing may be also affected temporarily in some people. Some experience slight fever too.
Antibiotics and anti inflammatory medicines are available to treat swimmers ear. Some home remedies for the same are
Heat compress: Take a hand towel and warm it against heat. Apply it on the affected area. Take care that the towel is not hot.
Garlic Oil: Put few drops of garlic oil and then drain. One should include garlic in their diet too.
Vinegar: This is a common home remedy for swimmer ears. Put few drops of white vinegar and drain after a while.
Baby oil: Warm the baby oil and put few drops.
Witch Hazel: This is an effective herb for swimmer ears. Dab cotton swab in witch hazel tea and dab this on the infected area gently. Witch hazel has anti inflammatory properties.
Echinacea: This should be taken in appropriate doses for increasing immunity and fighting with the bacteria.
Calendula Oil: This oil helps in fighting against the infection and killing the bacteria. Apply this for a soothing relief.
Castor Oil: Warm castor oil and apply a few drops.
Olive oil: Olive oil may also be warmed and put and then drained out.
Take care not to damage the lining by inserting objects. Avoid contaminated pools. Always wear a swimming cap and safe ear plugs while swimming. Dry your ear after bathing and swimming. Eat a nutritious diet to increase your immunity.
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