Swimmer's ear

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer part of the ear canal. This is usually caused by water that is left behind after swimming. Bacteria grow well in this warm, moist environment.

It usually starts with some itching and pain. Without treatment, the pain can increase, resulting in a blocked sensation and being able to hear less well. Eventually, severe pain, discharge of puss and fever can occur.

In the early stages, the infection can be treated with antibiotic ear drops, but in the later stages a general course of antibiotics is required. .


Contaminated water

Do not swim in contaminated water.

Dry the ear

Dry the ear gently with a towel after swimming or showering. Tip the head sideways if necessary and pull your earlobe in various directions to make the water run out of your ear.

Hair dryer

If there is still water in your ear, you can use a hair dryer on the lowest setting and at a safe distance from the ear (at least 35 cm).


Disinfect the ear with a solution of 97% ethyl alcohol and 3% acetic acid. Or use ordinary table vinegar diluted with an equal quantity of water (50%). Do not do this if you have a perforated eardrum.

Do not insert objects

Do not insert ear buds or other objects in the ear.

In case of symptoms

Seek medical advice if you suffer any symptoms.

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