An earache that starts as an annoying itch but can develop into a painful infection. It affects swimmers or surfers who neglect to dry their ear canals adequately after long periods in the water. Water trapped in the ear breaks down the lining of the outer canal which becomes infected with bacteria and fungi. Use of cotton-tipped ear swabs increases the risk of infection by removing the protective wax in the ear canal. Swimmers should keep out of the water until the infection has cleared. Ear drops of alcohol and vinegar may clear the infection in its early stages, but persistent infections may need treatment with antibiotics.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.