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Difference between swimmer's ear and ear infection - GP for ear infections in Fuengirola

GP for ear infections in Fuengirola

It can be hard to tell the difference between an ear infection and swimmer's ear, especially if your child is prone to both. Here we explain the difference and when to call our GP for ear infections in Fuengirola.

Is it swimmer's ear or ear infection?

The 2 main kinds of ear infections are: acute otitis media (an infection of the middle ear) and otitis externa, which is commonly known as swimmer’s ear. A swimmer’s ear occurs in the ear canal, while a middle ear infection happens behind the eardrum. These infections are caused by different organisms. 


Middle ear infection symptoms

Symptoms and signs typically start as a common cold, runny nose, cough and congestion, then might progress to:

  • Ear pulling
  • Fever
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fussiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Severe pain or fever in kids younger than two years could require going to the pediatrician by the next day.  Older kids or children with mild symptoms could as well be observed for 24 to 48 hours, before it is necessary to have an office visit. Most of the time, swimmers' ear is caused by some germs called pseudomonas. These germs are found in hot tubs and pools. These are the same kind of bacteria that is associated with a skin rash called “hot tub folliculitis,” that can develop after spending time in a hot tub. Swimmer's ear is also caused by Staphylococcus strains that usually live on the skin.


Swimmer’s ear symptoms

  • Redness and itching in the ear canal
  • Pain becoming worse by pulling on the outer ear
  • Swelling of the ear canal
  • Clear drainage

Something that could help prevent swimmer’s ear is keeping your ears dry. While swimming, you should be using  earplugs or over-the-counter drops when you're done swimming. 

 There is no reason to be concerned if treatment for swimmer's ear is not available right away. Parents might safely treat their children's pain and symptoms until they can see a doctor. In severe cases, it could lead to secondary infections like cellulitis, and also cartilage or bone damage. Perforation of the eardrum is a risk with both infections, so you should call our GP for ear infections in Fuengirola to get treatment. Furthermore, the presence of fluid in the ear for an extended period of time may affect a child's speech and hearing. 

When to call our GP for ear infections in Fuengirola

Ear infections can sometimes heal on their own after a few days. If the pain persists and you have a fever, call our GP for ear infections in Fuengirola as soon as you can. If you're having trouble hearing or have fluid that drains from your ear, you should see a doctor.