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Are your family members avid swimmers? Have you heard about swimmer’s ear and the ways to prevent it?
There’s nothing more enjoyable than a good swim to cool off the entire family on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, that little bit of joy can sometimes be accompanied by some mild inconveniences, and external otitis, also called “swimmer’s ear”, is one of them.
The ear is made up of three main parts: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. As its name suggests, the outer ear consists of the exterior part and includes the auricle and the auditory canal. At the end of the auditory canal is the eardrum, which acts as a barrier between the outer ear and the middle ear.
External otitis is an inflammation of the external auditory canal, which can be caused by an infection. Symptoms may include earache (which intensifies when the earlobe is pulled), itchiness and the sensation that the ear is blocked. It is possible for pus to ooze from the auditory canal or for hearing to be affected.
This type of ear infection can occur after swimming when humidity forms and accumulates in the auditory canal, which sometimes creates favourable conditions for inflammation and the proliferation of bacteria. Swimmer’s ear is the most common form and the most well-known type of external otitis. Aside from swimming, the use of the following items can promote the development of external otitis:
Therefore, summer is a period conducive to external otitis, especially in children, who often have the opportunity to swim.
Here are a few tips on how to prevent external otitis:
Contrary to middle ear otitis, external otitis is not usually treated with an oral antibiotic. A topical product applied inside the ear is usually used. Some of these products are available over-the-counter, while others must be prescribed.
If you wish to use antibiotic, anti-inflammatory or other types of drops to treat external otitis, note the following:
If you feel pain in the ear, taking an oral analgesic or an anti-inflammatory drug could offer relief. Ask your pharmacist to help you choose the best-suited product for you, by taking into consideration your age, health, medical history, and the other medications you take. Ask your pharmacist to calculate the dosage to be given according to age and weight if the medication is intended for a child.
Speak to your pharmacist if you have questions concerning the prevention or treatment of external otitis.
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