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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Swimmer's Ear: Prevention & Expectations
      Category : Health Centers > Ears and Hearing Disorders

Swimmer's Ear

Alternate Names : Acute Otitis Externa, External Canal Infection

Swimmer's Ear | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the infection?

Since water is the most common cause of swimmer's ear, it is important to get all the water out of the ear canal after bathing or swimming. Some measures to keep water from collecting in the ear canal include:

  • inserting antiseptic ear drops that can be purchased over the counter into the ear canal after swimming or bathing
  • inserting oily or lanolin ear drops into the ear canal before swimming or bathing
  • inserting rubbing alcohol into the ear canal after swimming or bathing
  • inserting a vinegar and alcohol solution into the ear canal after swimming or bathing
  • What are the long-term effects of the infection?

    If swimmer's ear is not identified and treated effectively, it can cause complications such as:

  • hearing impairment from scarring or narrowing of the ear canal
  • infection of soft tissues of the face and neck. This complication is seen especially in people with diabetes and in others with impaired immune systems.
  • necrotizing external otitis, which is an infection of the bones of the ear canal and skull
  • What are the risks to others?

    Swimmer's ear is not contagious and poses no risk to others.

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    Swimmer's Ear: Diagnosis & Tests


    Swimmer's Ear: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: Mark Loury, MD
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 08/09/01

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