Water in your ear?

You swam! You splashed! You dove! And now you have it: Swimmer’s ear. Find out more about this painful ear infection that often a ects swimmers.
What is it?
Swimmer’s ear is an infection caused by bacteria-filled water settling in the ear canal.

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Prevention: Keep your ears dry
•After showering or swimming, tilt your head to each side and allow the water to drain out of your ear canals. •Dry o the ears with a clean towel. •Wear ear plugs when swimming. •Swim wisely. Watch for signs alerting swimmers to high bacterial counts.

people will get swimmer’s ear at some point in their lives.

ONE IN TEN
Temporal Bone

How you get swimmer’s ear

When the ear is exposed to excess moisture, the skin inside the ear becomes soggy, diluting the acidity of the ear’s lining. A scratch in the lining allows bacteria to grow.

Outer Ear

Cochlea

Ear Canal

Ear Drum

or any other object into the opening of your ear. You may scratch the inside of your ear, allowing bacteria to grow.

NEVER insert a cotton swab, your finger,
Temporal Bone

The result is an ear infection that can cause severe pain, and decreased hearing. If not treated properly, complications can occur: •Bone and cartilage damage •Temporary hearing loss •More widespread infection •Long-term infection •Deep-tissue infection

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
•If you’re experiencing any signs or symptoms of swimmer’s ear, even if they’re mild. •If you have severe pain or a fever. A doctor will prescribe Anti-biotics, steroids or acidic solution as treatment.

Mild Symptoms •Itchy ear canal •Slight redness in your ear •Mild discomfort •Drainage of clear, odourless fluid
Sources: mayoclinic.com; ehow.com

Moderate Symptoms •Intense itching •Increasing pain •Extensive redness

•Discharge of pus •Excessive fluid drainage •Partial blockage of ear canal •Decreased hearing

Advanced Symptoms •Severe pain that radiates to face, neck or head •Complete blockage of ear canal

•Redness and swelling of outer ear •Swelling of lymph nodes in your neck •Fever

SUSAN BATSFORD, GRAPHICS EDITOR, TWITTER @SBATS1; INFOGRAPHIC BY TARA MARTIN/QMI AGENCY