Swimmers sometimes find that their ears become itchy. Some people are more prone to this than others. It is caused by water and chlorine irritating the skin lining the ear canal. Bacteria can get in and cause infection. This is called swimmer's ear.
The skin lining the ear canal is very sensitive and delicate. It is thin and tightly stuck to the underlying bone, unusual when compared to the skin of the rest of the body. This means that many ear plugs are uncomfortable. ZenPlugs from http://zenplugs.com/molded-earplugs/ are the best moulded ear plugs for swimming. There are several reasons for this.
The first reason is that they have a unique double-action against swimmer's ear. They block water as well as being antibacterial. The special resin the plugs are made from is non-porous and waterproof. They are wipe-clean, making them super-hygienic.
If you think that you have an ear infection it is very important that you visit a doctor. They will take a history from you and examine your ears. If they see signs of an infection they might give you some antibiotics. These could be as drops or tablets. Outer ear infection like swimmer's ear usually only requires drops containing an antibiotic to help it to settle down. This may be with or without a steroid.
If there are signs of infection behind the eardrum this means there may be a middle ear infection. You might need tablet antibiotics with or without the drops.
Sometimes people can become quite unwell with ear infections. They can be feverish, nauseous and not eat and drink enough. They must be careful about becoming dehydrated. Children are at high risk of this because they do not encourage themselves to drink. Also their higher surface-to-volume ratio means that they lose water more quickly than adults.
This article does not count as medical advice. Please consult a doctor if you have signs or symptoms of an ear infection.
Doctor Toby Bateson