Swimmer's ear


January 21, 2001

Excess moisture in the ear from swimming (or showering) is something to avoid because it can lead to infection.

Symptoms: Itching inside the ear. Watery or yellowish discharges. Pain or tenderness, particularly when moving the head or pulling the earlobe. Muffled hearing.

How to prevent it: First, keep your ears clean but not with a pointed object. Wear earplugs in the pool, and afterward, shake your head on its side to get rid of water in the ears. Carefully, turn a hair dryer on low and hold it no closer than a foot from the ear. Try over-the- counter, alcohol-based ear drops to dry extra moisture. Again, do not poke any pointed implement deep into the ear canal.

See your doctor when: Dizziness or ringing in the ear occurs or when pain becomes severe. Normally, swimmer's ear cures itself within a day or two.

SOURCES: Composite of information from several medical Web sites.

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