Bathotitis: earache after bathing

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Bath otitis is easy to prevent

For many people, the most beautiful time of the year is now starting: summer time means vacation time, which means that sun worshipers big and small are looking for proximity to the water again. The bathing season also starts the high season for ear canal infections, the so-called bathingotitis. So that bathing fun does not suddenly end with earache, enthusiastic swimmers can best protect themselves from infections with simple means. Regular rinsing of the ear canals with clear water after swimming and subsequent drying with a hair dryer prevent the germ colonization.

“When swimming and bathing, a humid, warm climate develops in the ear, which favors an external inflammation of the ear canal, that is, the inflammation of the skin between the auricle and the eardrum. Bacteria present in the water get into the ears when bathing. If the water stays in the ear canal afterwards, it softens the skin and germs penetrate more easily, ”explains Dr. Uso Walter, Duisburg ENT specialist and chairman of the HNOnet NRW, what exactly happens. "The normal bacterial flora is changed by potentially pathogenic germs and an inflammation arises, the so-called bath otitis." Whoever gets water in the ear also rinses out the protective wax film and the risk of inflammation increases. The first symptoms range from itching to sometimes severe ear pain. Purulent or bloody secretions from the affected ear are sometimes added later. The skin of the ear canal is sometimes red, swollen, dry and flaky or moist. If ear canals swell, this may even impair hearing.

Those affected are best advised to consult an ear, nose and throat doctor at the very first sign. If necessary, he examines and cleans the ear. Gauze strips soaked with medication may also be used in the ear canal. If necessary, doctors prescribe antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops and, if necessary, pain relievers. Otolaryngologists also rely on naturopathic therapies such as neural therapies and phytotherapies for ear infections. “Usually, bathotitis heals within a few days without complications. It is important to keep your ears dry at this time, ”comments Dr. Walter.

Everyone can prevent this with simple measures. It is best not to take a bath in polluted waters. But if you absolutely want to swim there, seal your ears with plugs or cotton wool greased with petroleum jelly during the bathing time. Rinsing the ear canals with clear water after swimming and then drying them with a hair dryer also help prevent bath otitis. Since even the slightest injuries in the ear canal favor inflammation, those affected should avoid scratching their ears with their fingernails and other pointed objects or cleaning them with cotton swabs. Such injuries not only lead to ear canal infections during the bathing season. The same applies to excessive cleaning with shampoo or soap. This increases the ph value in the ear canal and destroys the protective environment. (pm)

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