Health Tip: Swimmer's Ear Not Just From Pools

Water in the ear can come from showers and baths

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(HealthDay News) -- Swimmer's ear is an infection in the ear canal triggered by excess moisture. Water can gather in the ear after swimming, but it can also come from taking a bath or shower.

While water itself can cause the deterioration of tissue that leads to the infection, there are other factors that can cause damage, the Nemours Foundation says. These factors include scratching the ear canal, rough scrubbing with a Q-tip inside the ear, and inserting sharp objects in the ear canal.

Symptoms of otitis externa, as swimmer's ear is also called, include pain or itching inside the ear, swelling, discharge from the ear, and pain when chewing. Oral antibiotics or antibiotic eardrops are typically used to clear the infection. An over-the-counter pain reliever can help alleviate discomfort.

To prevent the infection in people who are prone to them, the foundation recommends using over-the-counter eardrops of a dilute solution of acetic acid or alcohol after swimming, long showers, or baths.

A shower cap or swimmer's ear plugs can protect the ear canals from getting too wet in the first place.

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