Children and teenagers are particularly prone to developing acute and chronic swimmer’s ear. While acute swimmer’s ear doesn’t last very long, chronic swimmer’s ear is a long-term condition.
In many cases, the bacteria present in swimming pools cause the infection. This article examines the issues surrounding acute and chronic swimmer’s ear.
What Are Acute and Chronic Swimmer’s Ear?
When someone is suffering from this condition (otitis externa), their outer ear and ear canal are infected, irritated or even swollen. After swimming, water may remain in your ears and provide a breeding ground for bacteria that then go on to cause the infection.
If the condition is chronic, symptoms persist, while people generally recover from acute swimmer’s ear within 2 weeks.
Otitis Externa – Causes
Though you may find earwax irritating, it, in fact, protects your ears from infection. When you don’t have enough earwax, bacteria can enter and cause an infection. This scenario is particularly likely if you:
- Clear all your earwax with cotton swabs
- Allow excess water into your ears
- Experience an allergic reaction to hairsprays, etc.
- Excessively scratch the inside or outside of your ear
- Have something stuck in your ear
Otitis Externa – Symptoms and Risks
The symptoms of acute swimmer’s ear include; itching, pain, blocked ears, hearing loss, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and puss or fluid discharge from the ears. If you experience acute swimmer’s ear on a regular basis, you are suffering from chronic swimmer’s ear.
While the main risk of acute swimmer’s ear is to develop chronic swimmer’s ear, the latter can have serious complications. Hearing loss, cellulitis, and an infection of the skin around the ears are just some of the complications. In the most serious causes, chronic swimmer’s ear can lead to malignant otitis externa or your infection may spread to the brain.
So, these are the basics facts on acute and chronic swimmer’s ear. As the ears are a very sensitive part of your body, it’s best to seek medical help if you experience any of the above symptoms.