Be proactive to avoid swimmer's ear this summer

It’s swimming season and with that comes swimmer’s ear.

“It’s an infection in the outer ear and it’s usually caused by moisture,” said Dr. Andrea Williams, an Ear, nose and throat specialist in south Charlotte.

With more people spending time in the water during the summer months the problem starts when water gets trapped inside your ears.

“It doesn’t come out and then when you have water sitting around mold likes moist environments," Williams said. 

Swimmer’s ear can cause draining and swelling among other symptoms.

“The most common symptom is itching if its mold and pain if it’s bacteria. You may also have a clogged sensation,” said Williams.

While cases can spike during the summer months you can be proactive to protect your ears by keeping them clean and dry.

  • When you get out of the water tilt your head to the side to drain your ears.
  • Consider swimming with plugs or a cap
  • Gently use a hair dryer on low heat to dry your

“If you do get water in your ear you can gently rinse it with a mixture of vinegar and water or alcohol and peroxide. These mixtures will kill mold and dry out your ear canal so you don’t have that moist environment."

If the pain continues after a day or two, she says, it’s time for a doctor to take a look at your ears.

“The ear canal can completely swell, so we can cut down on the pain and the discomfort,” Williams said.

Typically, by looking at the ear Williams says she can determine whether it’s a bacterial or fungal infection and determine the right protocol to treat the infection with drops.

Most people swim and don’t have problems but if you are prone to ear infections or swimmer’s ear consider taking the extra steps to keep your ears dry.