Ask The Expert
August 11, 2011
Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal. Doctors call it external otitis.
Symptoms of swimmer's ear include:
Swimmer's ear can be caused by bacteria or fungi. It is called swimmer's ear because it is associated with frequent swimming. Long and frequent exposure to water makes the skin of the ear canal more susceptible to infection. Warm and humid conditions can do the same thing. That's why swimmer's ear is most common in the summer.
Sometimes swimmer's ear can be treated by clearing the ear canal of debris and keeping it dry. However, doctors usually prescribe ear drops to promote quicker healing. The most commonly used drops combine medications to fight the infection and calm the inflammation. Many products combine an antibiotic with hydrocortisone. There are all equally effective.
Drops are placed in the ear canal three or four times per day for about five days.