While it is certainly possible to get swimmer's ear from swimming in a pool or the ocean, don't let the name fool you. Swimmer's ear, aka otitis externa, is caused by bacteria or fungi and can happen at any time. That said, it most commonly occurs in children who swim because of the buildup of water in their ears. Moisture and other irritants, like foreign objects, chemicals, skin conditions, dry skin, and rough cleaning practices, create a hospitable environment for the bacteria or fungi to live in the ear canal and can lead to infection. This infection typically affects the ear in three stages: mild, moderate, and advanced.
While swimmer's ear is not contagious and is usually easily treated, it can cause some painful and irritating symptoms. Get to know these irritating symptoms of swimmer's ear now.
Redness And Itching In The Ear
During the first stages of swimmer's ear, patients may experience some mild itching. As a matter of fact, this may be the only sign experienced for a few days, and it can occur long before patients even realize they have an infection. The ear canal may also be pink or slightly red. As the infection progresses, the itching will become more severe and may spread beyond the ear canal. The ear canal will also become redder. If the infection progresses to the advanced stage, the redness may extend to the outer part of the ear. It may even be accompanied by some swelling of the outer ear and surrounding lymph nodes. If an individual is experiencing redness and itching in the ear, they should stay alert for other warning signs of an infection.
Speaking of other warning signs, keep reading to learn about the next symptom of swimmer's ear.