Swimmer's ear is usually not a dangerous condition and often clears up within a few days after starting treatment. However, if untreated, it can become extremely and surprisingly painful. In rare cases, especially in diabetes patients or anyone with problems with their immune system, the infection may be more difficult to treat and can spread and damage underlying bones and cartilage, requiring hospitalization.
Your doctor may gently clean your ear canal with a cotton-tipped probe or a suction device to relieve irritation and pain. Also, antibiotic ear drops such as ciprofloxacin and hydrocortisone (Cipro HC Otic), ofloxacin or finafloxacin (Xtoro) are necessary to treat this problem. But if there is too much swelling or drainage from the canal, drops may not go in. If so, your doctor will most likely put in a small wick, a skinny one inch-long piece of dehydrated sponge or gauze, that will go in past the blocked area. When drops are applied to the wick, they will be able to seep into the canal and pass the blockage. This will provide quick relief, usually within six to eight hours.
These tips may help you avoid getting swimmer's ear:
Be careful when cleaning your ears. Most doctors advise against using cotton swabs unless you're using it to clean the outside of the ear. Instead, wipe the outer ear with a clean washcloth. Do not dig into the ear canal, and never use a pointed object. Scratching the skin of the ear canal can let germs get in under the skin and cause infection.
Avoid earplugs, if possible. These can irritate the ear canal.
After swimming, tilt and shake...