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Swimmer’s Ear

General Information

Swimmer’s ear – the common name for otitis externa – is a fungal or bacterial infection in the outer ear canal. It occurs when germs grow on trapped water in the ear. Despite its name, this condition also affects nonswimmers, mainly children and teenagers who have narrow ear canals that don’t drain well.

Urgent Care Goshen Physicians offers treatment to relieve symptoms of swimmer’s ear. It is open seven days a week with extended hours on weekdays to provide care for minor injuries and conditions.

Visit our location or call (574) 535-1700 for an appointment. For serious medical emergencies, learn when to go to the emergency room and visit Goshen Hospital’s ER for 24/7 treatment.

Swimmer’s ear symptoms and causes

A narrow ear canal is a good environment for fungus and bacteria that thrive in moist conditions. Eczema, excess earwax, sensitivities to hairspray, and warm, humid weather can also increase the chances of getting swimmer’s ear.

Once water gets trapped in the ear, germs breed and cause the pain and itching associated with swimmer’s ear.

You or your child may also experience:

  • Drainage or discharge
  • Headache or discomfort in the head or neck
  • A sense of fullness in the ear
  • Impaired hearing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Severe pain
  • Fever

Always get prompt medical care for severe pain and fever. Our urgent care team can assess the symptoms to determine what type of treatment is needed.

Treating swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear treatment usually involves prescription antimicrobial ear drops, pain relievers and oral medication if the infection is severe. If the ear canal is very swollen, your provider may need to use a wick to apply the medicine inside the ear.

Swimmer’s ear doesn’t go away on its own, so it’s important to get professional medical care. If left untreated, ear canal infections may spread and cause internal damage or life-threatening infections. For quality treatment, visit our urgent care center in Goshen.

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