Your Virtual Pharmacist-Swimmer’s Ear!

by Kathy Sykes on July 6, 2010 · 1 comment


What is Swimmer’s Ear?

Also known as otitis externa, is a painful condition of the outer ear.  This portion of the ear ‘s environment is acidic which helps keep bacteria entry and growth at bay. 

Bacteria, as well as, fungi enter the ear when the skin lining of the ear is compromised or when foreign objects are introduced to the area. 

  1. Using Q-tips or other objects in the ear.
  2. Water entering the ear increases moisture which alters the acidic properties of the ear and lead to increase in bacteria or fungi growth.  Hence the summer time because people are swimming more.
  3. Ear plugs from musical devices can also introduce bacteria or fungi to the ear area causing this condition.

Symptoms of swimmers ear include:

  • Ear pain with redness- which increases to the touch
  • Itching in or around the ear canal
  • An odorous drainage from the ear
  • ringing in the ear

 Treatment for Swimmer’s ear:

Over-the-counter treatments can be used for less severe episodes and warm heat can be used to control pain but prescription treatments are best.

Seeing a doctor is recommended because antibiotic or antifungal treatment is best depending on the cause( especially with children and other’s with compromised immune systems). Some of the antibiotics used are:

100_1048 Nanette Hartley is a pharmacist contributor to Your Virtual Pharmacist. She has nearly twenty years pharmacy experience and is currently in an international Master of Business graduate program. She also is the creator of a personal blog called Heal A Sister. Credit to for additional information. 

****Disclaimer****The information given here is not to replace the medical advice of your personal physician or other healthcare professionals. Our advice is to be used as supplemental  information to be reviewed and discussed with your physician or other appropriate medical professional.

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