What's Going Around: Swimmer's Ear - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

What's Going Around: Swimmer's Ear

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FITCHBURG (WKOW) -- Doctors say incidents of swimmer's ear are increasing as the weather gets warmer.

Dr. Stephen Lo with Group Health Cooperative's Hatchery Hill Clinic in Fitchburg says water from swimming will get into the ear canal and cause a breakdown of the skin. That allows a bacterial infection to happen.

Symptoms are ear pain when pulling or pushing on the ear, drainage and swelling or redness of the ear canal.

To treat, Dr. Lo says you typically need antibiotic ear drops to get rid of the infection. You can also take over-the-counter medicine to help with the pain.

Dr. Lo says to prevent swimmer's ear, try to avoid getting water in the ear canal in the first place. If you do, gently remove it by massaging your ear with your head tilted. Dr. Lo says you can also lie on your side for a few minutes until the water drains out. Carefully use a hair dryer on low to evaporate the water, but Dr. Lo says to hold the dryer away from your ear so it doesn't burn.

Dr. Lo does not recommend using Q-Tips. That will only damage the skin in your ear canal and eardrum, he says.

See a doctor if you have a fever, if the pain is severe or if the condition doesn't get better with treatment.

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