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Swimmer's ear (external ear infection)

Definition: after swimming and after using Q-tips, wax is removed from the ear canal, and the ear canal swells from an infection.

Symptoms/possible causes: water getting into the ear canal where no wax is present, washed out from a lot of swimming or from using Q-tips. NEVER USE A Q-TIP!!  When the infection sets in, the canal swells shut, and there is terrible pain.  It hurts severely to just touch the external ear.

Possible course of treatment: a small sponge, called a wick, has to be inserted in the swollen ear canal in order for the ear drops to get down the ear canal.  Ear drops and oral pain medication are the only treatments. Oral antibiotics will not help.  The wick stays in for 4 days, and then it is removed.  Pain is gone after the wick is in the ear canal for 2 days. A possible treatment to prevent this problem from occurring with swimming is to fill the ear canal with rubbing alcohol, after one is finished swimming for the morning or evening, and never use a Q-tip.

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