Holidays are the ideal place to enjoy the beach or pool time, but also when we should be more careful to avoid external ear infections.
In summer the external otitis are very frequent. Contact with the pool water and the sea are the main cause and affects mostly children, who are those who tend to spend more time playing, swimming or diving in the water. Although they are sometimes inevitable, there are a number of precautions that we can take to reduce the risk of this type of infection. Here we tell you what and how to treat your symptoms if the hearing has already been affected.
Why otitis externa occurs?
In summer, 84% of external otitis are caused by bacteria or fungi found on beaches and swimming pools, in most cases because the water is retained in the ear canal. It is in this part where the infection, that being outside does not affect the eardrum occurs. In some cases these bacteria are found in the ear itself and when bound to moisture and heat cause otitis externa.
The pool chlorine increases the chances of external ear infection, although the salty seawater, we should try to be as clean as possible, we also can cause the same effect. At the end of the day, we are not prepared to spend much time in the water, but that is something that younger family often do not agree.
Ideally prevent entry of water in the ears, but that, when we spend all year waiting for our desired bathing in the sea or pool, does not seem very feasible, so these are some of the other measures we can take to prevent swimmer’s ear:
- Out of the water dry the ears with a towel, gently but making sure, you are clean and no trace of moisture.
- A cotton can help to dry the area, but never use cotton swabs as they can produce the opposite effect.
- Discard the excess chlorine pools, which can perceive by smell or notice irritation to the skin and eyes.
- Seek to swim in beaches with water as clean as possible, marked by the blue flag.
- Avoid excessively long baths (over an hour), it is preferable to short baths (especially children), get out, dry off good and then turn to bathe, to spend the same time without leaving the water.
- Choose the least cold water and low temperatures increase the chance of infection. Sometimes in the mountains (lakes, rivers) or on the beach, we noticed the almost freezing water, then it is better to reduce the exposure time.
- Experts warn that use ear plugs when they are healthy can be counterproductive, but when there is a history of infection, as plugs can help reinforce the above precautionary measures.
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Symptoms and treatment of otitis externa
Follow all these recommendations minimizes risks, while not always enough. How do we recognize otitis externa?
- Earache, usually very intense, which is accentuated by pressing or touching the area, for example the dress or supporting the ear on the pillow to sleep.
- Itching or pruritus, with stinging sensation and / or urge to scratch
- Suppuration, although not usually abundant and is more common in acute otitis media.
Given these symptoms need to see a specialist as soon as possible to tell us proper treatment and if we need to take antibiotics. Analgesics can relieve pain at a point in time, but only a doctor can guarantee us that the infection has healed and give us the best solution to avoid having more serious consequences.
When we suffer otitis externa we have to wait a few days before returning to bathe. If the box was important is the doctor may recommend audiologist or even do a review to check that the healing process has been fully completed.
Later, we can again enjoy the summer like fish in the water, yes, always taking into account the advice we have discussed.