What is Swimmers Ear?
Swimmers Ear is a condition in which the outer ear and the ear canal become irritated and swollen, mostly due to infection. This disease is referred to as Otitis Externa in medical terminology. It causes immense pain and discomfort to the affected individual but is often not contagious in nature.
As the name suggests, Swimmers ear is caused by overexposure to water or moisture. Ear canal is a tube-like in the ear structure that protects the delicate ear from infections caused by unwanted foreign particles.
Although, when moisture gets entrapped in the canal, it creates a damp environment in the tube thereby making it favorably disposed to bacterial and fungal growths. The condition should be treated as son as possible to avoid chances of further complications.
Generally, the conventional method of treatment involves the use of antibiotic ear drops and pain and inflammation reducing drugs. Home treatment with the help of natural home remedies for Swimmers Ear, on the other hand, has also been in effect since time immemorial to provide relief from this painful condition. This natural treatment can be carried on along with the conventional treatment or separately.
Causes of Swimmers Ear
As mentioned earlier, Swimmers Ear is caused by prolonged exposure to water or moisture. This accumulation of even little moisture could be caused by activities like swimming, bathing or taking a shower. The chances of developing an infection increase manifold if the water used for these activities is contaminated.
Therefore, one should use bathing caps or ear plugs to prevent water from getting inside the ear thereby preventing the possibility of infection. The condition can become malignant in the presence of immune suppressing diseases, especially diabetes.
Vigorous ear cleaning with pointed objects or the use of hearing aid may increase the risk of developing this condition by injuring the delicate skin inside the ear. These cuts in the skin encourage microbial growth resulting in ear infection extending up to the ear canal.
Similarly, dry skin can also be damaged easily and give rise to Swimmers Ear. Folliculitis, skin allergies and skin irritations may also result in the same. Apart from this, an existing middle ear infection can also spread up to the ear canal and cause this problem.
Symptoms of Swimmers Ear
Acute Otitis Externa or Swimmers Ear that appears all of a sudden can be extremely painful. Simply moving the head, merely touching the infected ear or even muscular movement caused by chewing something can cause a great deal of pain due to this disease. At times, the ear also seems to be stuffy or blocked. The blockage, in turn might result in decreased hearing.
Tinnitus (ringing sensation in the ear), redness, irritation, itching and inflammation are some other common symptoms of this disease. The ear wax appears to be soft and white in color in the presence of this condition. Moreover, the combination of ear wax and the microbial infection may lead to the formation of pus and complicate the symptoms even further.
Natural Home Remedies for Swimmers Ear
- Place a heating pad or a hot water bottle wrapped in cloth over the affected ear to get rid of the problem. This procedure is regarded as one of the most popular home remedies for Swimmers Ear as it helps relieve the intense pain.
- Rinse the inside of the ear with the help of a few drops of white vinegar to reduce and cure the infection. For this remdy, place a few drops of vinegar in the ear canal, leave it for about five minutes and then drain the solution out of the ear. Follow this effective Swimmers Ear home remedy two times per day for at least three days to cure the disease at home. Saline solution can also be used in the same way with the same results.
- Make a solution of apple cider vinegar and water mixed in equal quantities. Putting 3-4 drops of this solution in the affected ear is one of the most successful natural home remedies for Swimmers Ear prevention as well as treatment. Similarly, hydrogen peroxide (3%) and white vinegar can also be diluted in water and used to rinse the ear to heal this problem.
- Putting heated baby oil in the ear is also beneficial in reducing Swimmers Ear symptoms.
- Putting rubbing alcohol in the ear and then letting it drain after a minute or so is one of the most widely used and equally effective home remedies for Swimmers Ear. It can also be used in combination with white vinegar.
- Marinate a mixture of chopped garlic cloves and olive oil over night. Strain the mixture and put three drops of this therapeutic natural remedy in the ear to get rid of the infection. This is one of the most trusted home remedies for Swimmers Ear.
- Taking a steamy shower or putting some mineral oil in the ears before going for swimming helps to prevent this condition.
Diet for Swimmers Ear
No specific diet is recommended in such cases. Still, try to include more amount of vitamin C in the diet to facilitate the process of healing in case of infection caused by skin injury or abrasion. Besides, individuals should be careful and take precautions when dealing with Swimmers Ear.
For instance, avoid swimming in polluted water. Plus, avoid vigorous ear cleaning, especially with sharp and pointed objects. Use ear plugs and bath caps while swimming and bathing in order to prevent water from getting inside the ears.