swimmer's ear

Common Ear Infections in the Summer

Summer’s here, and as we spend more time in the water, ear infections, like swimmer’s ear and middle ear infection, are extremely common. Many studies have shown that they are more common during the sunny season. Although the symptoms may appear to be the same, there are signs that will help you distinguish between these two conditions. The causes of swimmer’s ear and middle ear infection, as well as their treatment, also differ. Here we will tell you what you need to know.

Swimmer’s ear

Causes

Swimmer’s ear occurs when water gets trapped in the ear canal. This excessively moist environment is ideal for the proliferation of bacteria, which causes the ear to become infected.

Symptoms

Symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:

  • Itchiness inside your ear
  • Swollen outer ear
  • Foul-smelling fluid drainage out of the ear
  • Difficulty hearing

Treatment

Swimmer’s ear is usually a mild condition that can be treated with over-the-counter medicines, antibacterial ear drops in case of a bacterial infection, and warm compresses to treat the pain. You can also take Ibuprofen or, if you’re interested in home remedies, you can pour a teaspoon of a mixture of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol into your ear to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Middle ear infection

Causes

Most ear infections are caused by bacteria, but they can also be linked to the flu and common cold. In these cases, the congestion of the nasal passages, throat and ear canal can prevent the proper drainage of fluids, creating a breeding ground for the growth of bacteria and viruses, which results in an infection.

Symptoms

People who suffer from a middle ear infection are more likely to complain of a deeper pain. The reason for this is that the pain is located near the ear drum, in the middle ear cavity. Symptoms of a middle ear infection include:

  • Fever
  • Swollen outer ear
  • Increasing pain while laying down or sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose and watery eyes

Treatment

As middle ear infections can cause severe swelling of the ear canal, you should pay a visit to your ENT specialist so that they can examine for blockages. Ear infections, unlike a swimmer’s ear, cannot be treated with ear drops. You will need to take oral medication to treat the underlying issue, whether it’s a cold, the flu, or a seasonal allergy.

Although ear infections are fairly common during the season of the sun, summer’s here for us to enjoy. The early recognition of the symptoms and causes of your discomfort is essential to undergo adequate treatment. Swimmer’s ear usually is not a cause for concern, but if you suspect you might have a middle ear infection, we recommend you see your primary care provider or your ENT specialist as soon as you can.

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