Though acute otitis externa is often called â€œswimmerâ€™s ear,â€ not everyone who jumps into the pool or lake this summer will get the infection.
â€œTypically, swimming isnâ€™t a problem,â€ said Dr. Gregory H. Esselman with Aiken Ear Nose and Throat.
The phrase â€œswimmerâ€™s earâ€ refers to a â€œswelling and pain in the skin of the ear canal,â€ he continued.
The ear canal is â€œthe narrow, tubelike passage through which sound enters the ear,â€ according to The American Heritage Stedmanâ€™s Medical Dictionary.
â€œA common source of the infection is increased moisture trapped in the ear canal, from baths, showers, swimming or moist environments. When water is trapped in the ear canal, bacteria that normally inhabit the skin and ear canal multiply, causing infection of the ear canal,â€ as stated by the American Academy of Otolaryngology â€“ Head and Neck Surgery.
Other factors that the American Academy of Otolaryngology lists that could cause the infection include â€œexcessive cleaning of the ear canal with cotton swabs or anything else,â€ â€œcontact with certain chemicals such as hair spray or hair dyeâ€ or â€œa cut in the skin of the ear canal.â€
Esselman also recommends avoid â€œcleaning the wax out of your ear,â€ as the wax can help ward off infection.
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