Swimmers ear is a kind of bacterial infection that affects the thin layer of the skin around the ear canal. It is believed that if the infection is not provided with the necessary treatment, it is more likely to spread to the nearby tissues. The other name for this condition is otitis externa and can only be well treated by taking good care of your ears. This means that you need to keep them clean and dry in order to keep this condition at bay. It is believed that the skin lining the outer ear as well as the canal ear has the ability of providing a protective barrier that is acidic against any bacterial or fungal growth. In addition to this, it protects the ear from receiving excessive moisture. However, if the lining tends to weaken, bacterial and fungal growth get a chance of infecting the ear and this in turn causes an infection known as swimmers ear.
Causes of Swimmers Ear
There are various causes of swimmers ear and some of them require quick emergency medical care in order to rid them of. As such, it is important to exercise a lot of caution when it comes to the causes in order to keep the condition from taking place. Here are some of the major causes of this condition.
- Sharp Objects: There are some people who have a tendency of inserting sharp objects in their ears especially if they feel some itching inside. When this happens, the ear lining can easily break or weaken leaving the ear prone to the infection.
- Swimming and Showering: Taking a swim or a bath is a dream of every person especially after having a hard day’s work. As such, large quantities of water may simply enter the ear and can cause interference in the acid balance of the ear. When this happens, the ear will become vulnerable to being infected with swimmers ear.
- Facial Hair Bleach: This is another major cause of this condition whereby when applied aimlessly, can easily irritate the outer ear as well as the ear canal and this can easily lead to infection.
- Excess Moisture: One major cause of this condition is excess moisture especially during hot and moist months. When moisture seeps directly into the ear canal, it tends to set up a house which harbors growth of bacteria and its population resulting to this condition.
Symptoms of Swimmers Ear
Symptoms of this condition are easily noticed but some of them can easily be brushed away as irritations. As such, it is important to be on the lookout for the symptoms so that you can take the necessary action required to prevent the infection from spreading to other tissues present in the ear. Here we go with some of the symptoms.
- Pain: This is the most common of all whereby the pain will tend to increase especially if the ear canal is moved. The movement can either be brought about by laying on the ear or simply chewing food.
- Itching: A person affected by this condition will feel some itching in the ear canal which may cause discomfort.
- Clogged Feeling: There are times when an individual will feel as if his or her ear is clogged. This means that he or she will feel as if the ear is full. When this happens, it is a symptom of this condition.
- Odorless Fluid: On the onset of the infection, some drainage of odorless fluid may be experienced and may as well be accompanied with a discharge of pus.
- Redness: The skin in the ear canal will tend to be red symbolizing that the infection is prone and needs to be attended to as soon as possible.
- Swelling: The lymph nodes in your neck may swell causing a lot of discomfort to the affected person.
- Flaking Skin: The skin around the outer ear may become scaly or flake and may with time tend to peel off.
Home Remedies for Swimmers Ear
There are various ways that can be used to ensure that the infection has well been taken of especially if discovered in advance. There are herbal, medical, natural as well as home remedies that one can use in order to cure swimmers ear. Here, the choice you make will depend on the severity of the infection. Having said this, here are the best, affordable, effective and convenient home remedies that you can use in curing the infection. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Heat Compress: The first home remedy that you can use is, creating a heat compress then use it to appease pain caused by the infection. This is simple in that, all you need to do is to take a bottle, fill it with warm water, wrap it in a large dry towel then place it around the affected ear.
- Olive Oil: This is yet another perfect home remedy that is affordable. All you need to do is to warm few drops of olive oil then carefully place it in the ear. Once you have placed it in the ear, you will be required to cover it with a cotton ball so that you can prevent any drainage.
- Garlic Oil: There are times when the swelling in the ear maybe unbearable and as such, it is imperative to use garlic oil as a way of reducing the inflammation in the ear. All you need to do is to place 2-3 drops of the oil in the ear canal and this will in turn speed up the healing process while at the same time boosting your immunity.
- White Vinegar and Alcohol: This is a perfect home-made ear drying solution which helps in drying up any moisture within the ear and at the same time killing any germs that can easily generate infections. All you have to do is to combine similar parts of white vinegar and alcohol, then mix them together to form a solution. Deposit few drops of the solution in the ear.
- Lanolin Oil: This is the best remedy for relieving pain as well as itching caused by swimmers ear. Here, you will be required to warm the oil before you can drop it into the affected ear.
- Ear Plugs: There are various ear plugs that can be worn on the ears. However, you are required to go for ear plugs designed for swimmers while they are in the water. The aim of wearing the ear plugs is to prevent any water from getting into the ear which can in turn cause unbearable irritation.
- Baby Oil: All you need to do is to place about 2 drops of this oil into both ears shortly before you can go for swimming or showering. Doing this is important as it will help in preventing the infection from taking place.
- Blow dry: A majority of homes tend to be equipped with blow dryers for various drying purposes. If you have one at home, set it at a low heat and gently blow it into the affected ear. It is important to hold the dryer about eighteen inches away from the ear in order to eliminate any water that may be excess in the ear.
- Diluted Alcohol: You can make your own ear drops from diluted alcohol at home. Put the drops into the ears and wipe them gently. This will in turn help in clearing any infection preventing it from spreading to the other tissues in the ears.
- Olive leafs- Extracts from olive leaves are among the oldest form of herbal remedies to swimmer’s ear. This extract contains antiviral properties, which are key in fighting the virus that is the cause of swimmer’s ear. In addition, olive leaves extract has the ability to heal nearly every type of ear canal infections. However, doctors and other health specialist have warned against using this herbal remedy in excess amounts. This is due to the fact that, it can cause an over reaction which in return can lead to severe infections of the affected ear parts.
- Garlic- Garlic is the other commonly used herbal remedy for swimmer’s ear. Garlic has the ability of healing the infections that are caused by swimmer’s ear, thanks to its many antioxidants properties. In addition, it can help in eliminating the pain that comes with this ear condition. Garlic is also effective in inhibiting ear's infections from becoming septic, thus becoming serious wounds.
- Golden Seal- Golden seal has also been deemed as an ideal herbal remedy for swimmer’s ear. It has a number of antioxidants properties which give it the ability to heal nearly every type of ear infection. In addition, it has a number of nutrients that make it one of the best herbal remedy for swimmer’s ear. Nevertheless, golden seal is supposed to be used in the right dosage, for it might cause inflammation of the ear's infections if used in excess.
- Onion- Onion is the other type of herbal remedy for swimmer’s ear that is commonly used in countering swimming's ear. Just like the other types of herbal remedies to swimmer's ear, it has the ability to heal the infections that come along with this condition. In addition, it has the ability to eliminate ear pain and itching caused by swimmer's ear.
Diet for Swimmers Ear
Just like any other condition that one may suffer from, a healthy diet is very important to help in speeding up the healing process. As such, this means that your diet needs to be well balanced with all the nutritional needs in order to speed up the healing process. Here are some of the foods that you need to include in your diet.
- Firstly, your diet should have ample vitamins in order to help the damaged ear canal to heal up fast. Vitamins can be gotten from fruits such as bananas, oranges, pineapples among others; and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, sukumawiki and cabbage among others.
- Your diet should also contain proteins, carbohydrates and minerals to help your body in gaining all the energy required to speed up the healing process. if you are not sure on the right foods that you should eat due to underlying medical conditions, it is imperative to talk to your physician to give you the right direction.
Prevention of Swimmers Ear
There are various preventive measures that one can use in order to prevent swimmers ear. Keep in mind that prevention is better than cure meaning that, taking preventing measures in due time will keep the infection at bay. Here are perfect examples.
- Firstly, it is important to keep off inserting sharp objects in the ear as they can easily tear or weaken the ear canal resulting to the infection.
- Ensure that both your ears are dry as possible to keep off any moisture which is the main cause of the infection.
- Take time to ensure that your ears are guarded from any chemical irritants such as hair bleach. You can do this by placing cotton in your ears especially if you are using any beauty product.
- When taking a shower, use ear plugs or even a shower cap to keep the water out.
- When cleaning your ears, exercise a lot of caution in order to avoid nudging into the ear canal which can result to an infection.
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