For many of us, summertime means enjoying the water. We love to swim and splash around in rivers, lakes, the ocean and a variety of swimming pools. It can also mean contracting swimmer’s ear. Here’s what you need to know about this common infection and how to prevent and treat it.
Swimmer’s Ear (Acute Otitis Externa) is the name for an infection of the outer ear canal. Usually it is caused by water that becomes trapped in the ear and provides a breeding ground for bacteria that is found in water and soil. The bacteria is soaked up by the skin in the ear canal, causing an infection.
Swimmer’s ear is most commonly caused by two types of bacteria:
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa: This is considered a common bacteria that thrives in moist environments and easily causes infection. It exists in all areas of the world and is commonly found in water, soil and on human skin.
- Staphylococcus aureus: This is another common bacteria that is usually found on the skin and in the moist areas of the body including the respiratory system and the nose. In addition to swimmer’s ear, this bacteria causes infections like sinusitis, food poisoning and respiratory infections.