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How is swimmer's ear treated?

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Your doctor may gently clean your ear canal with a cotton-tipped probe or a suction device to relieve irritation and pain. She may also wash out the canal with a hydrogen peroxide and water mixture. Depending on the severity of the infection, antibiotic ear drops such as ciprofloxacin and hydrocortisone (Cipro HC Otic), ofloxacin or finafloxacin (Xtoro) are necessary to treat this problem. If there is too much swelling or drainage from the canal, however, drops may not go into the ear. 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.

You may also be given a prescription for antibiotics to take by mouth for deeper infections as well as pain medication, if needed.

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Swimmer's Ear."

CDC: "Facts About 'Swimmer's Ear."

UpToDate: "External Otitis: Treatment," "External Otitis (Including Swimmer's Ear) (Beyond the Basics)," "Malignant (Necrotizing) External Otitis"

Cleveland Clinic: "Otitis Externa (Swimmer's Ear)."

KidsHealth: "Swimmer's Ear."

FamilyDoctor: "Otitis Externa (Swimmer's Ear)."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on September 6, 2017

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Swimmer's Ear."

CDC: "Facts About 'Swimmer's Ear."

UpToDate: "External Otitis: Treatment," "External Otitis (Including Swimmer's Ear) (Beyond the Basics)," "Malignant (Necrotizing) External Otitis"

Cleveland Clinic: "Otitis Externa (Swimmer's Ear)."

KidsHealth: "Swimmer's Ear."

FamilyDoctor: "Otitis Externa (Swimmer's Ear)."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on September 6, 2017

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