Your Pool Could Be Making You Sick
If youve ever been sick after swimming, it may have been due to contaminated pool water. According to a 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , more than 27,000 people have gotten sick from pools, hot tubs, and splash pads. Luckily, there are precautions you can take to make sure you dont add yourself to that number. If you have a pool, it all starts with your water source. Here are 17 things you need to know about tap waterand whether yours is safe.
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So What Is Ear Eczema
Eczema, aka atopic dermatitis, can appear nearly anywhere on the body. People with atopic dermatitis are more sensitive to products on their skin and can manifest eczema in many places, even on the ears.
Contact dermatitis looks just like like atopic dermatitis, but this is technically due to an external cause such as an irritant or an allergic substance .
Ear eczema is sometimes used interchangeably to refer to an eczema-like rash on the ears, even if its not always true atopic dermatitis on the ears. In this article, we use it in a general sense and not specifically to refer to only atopic dermatitis.
Thankfully, this eczema on the ears isnt contagious, and there are treatments to reduce the risk of infection or inflammation.
The symptoms of ear eczema can affect the outside of the ear, inside the ear canal, the area behind the ear, and the crease where your ears are attached.
Mild to moderate symptoms include:
- dry, scaly skin
Dry weather and hot, sweaty environments are known to worsen eczema in some individuals.
More serious symptoms include:
- swollen, cracked, and sensitive skin
- oozing, bleeding, or crusting of cracked skin
A Sign Of Atopy: Atopic Eczema
Atopic eczema is, along with other manifestations such as asthma or rhinitis, a symptom of atopy. People with atopy have, in effect, skin which is abnormally sensitive to the environment, which leads mainly to eczema. Actually, eczema is one of the primary signs of atopy.
Atopic eczema occurs when the skin no longer provides a protective barrier and over-reacts to elements in the environment, resulting in inflammation.
The area affected reveals a great deal about whether or not it is atopic eczema. Cracking of the fold under the earlobe points to atopy as the cause!
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Best Treatment For Ear Canal Eczema
Eczema, an inflammatory and itchy skin condition, affects around 10-20% of the population. Characterized by red, dry, and flaky skin, there are actually several different types of eczema. Typically, eczema affects the hands, back, and creases of elbows and knees but it can also develop in other places on the body – including inside the ear canal. Read on for more information on causes, symptoms, and treatment options for ear canal eczema.
Please keep in mind that although these tips can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If youre experiencing severe eczema symptoms like an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.
What does Ear Canal Eczema Look Like?
If you suffer from eczema of the ear canal, you may notice dry, flaky skin or red patches. These can develop in or around your ears, as well as in the ear canal which runs from your eardrum to your ears opening. You may notice a clear discharge from your ear, as well as inflammation or swelling. As itchiness is a prime symptom of any type of eczema, in this case, youll experience itchiness in or around the ear canal. Due to low-humidity, your symptoms may worsen during the winter months, especially as indoor heating makes the air drier than usual.
Causes of Ear Canal Eczema
There are two different types of ear canal eczema that have different causes.
Treating Ear Canal Eczema
Hearing Aids And Itching Of The Ear :
Sometimes the plastic of a hearing aid or polish on the surface of the plastic will cause an allergic reaction in the ears of the wearer. The polish can be removed or the hearing aid mold plastic changed. Hearing aids of the “BTE” type, where the main processor is behind the ear, have far less issues as there is very little contact between the hearing aid and the skin of the ear. This is not always possible however.
When hearing aid users get water in their ear, the hearing aids can trap the water in the ear causing irritation. Keeping the external ear free of water is advisable.
Hearing aids may have a bump which puts pressure on the ear canal. This can be irritating and cause itching. The solution here is to have the hearing aid mold revised.
The Cause Of Eczema In And Behind The Ears
The cause of Seborrheic Dermatitis in and behind the ears is due to overgrowth of yeast on your skin. Yeast-like fungi called Candida cause infection, which in return gives us red, itchy, and very scaly skin. This has been found out to be the main reason behind eczema in the ears, but there are definitely other factors that can make things worse.
What Causes Itching Sensations In The Ear
DRY SKINIn the outer ear, itching is rarely a notable issue, since we can easily rub or scratch that itch away. It is usually caused by dry skin or irritants that come into contact with the skin. It is no different than itching on any other exposed part of the body, but if it becomes a habitual nuisance, applying a bit of mineral oil or Vaseline to the affected area with a cotton swab can help rehydrate the skin and protect it from further irritation.
SKIN CONDITIONSIn addition to the superficial irritation of substances you come into contact with, two of the most common benign skin diseases, eczema and psoriasis, can also affect your ears. If scaling of the skin is present, one of these conditions will be suspected as the cause of your itching. Your hearing care provider and dermatologist can provide solutions.
ALLERGIESIn the inner parts of the ear, causes of itching become a little more complex. One of the most common culprits is allergies. The same histamine response that causes itchy hives on the skin, watery eyes, and sneezing can also cause the eustachian tube to become inflamed. Most of us will press on our tragus and wiggle it vigorously to relieve this sensation, but the best home remedy is to take an antihistamine.
ANXIETYYou may be surprised to learn this, but simply being nervous, stressed, or feeling on edge can cause the ears to itch!
Symptoms Of Ear Eczema
Ear eczema causes the same symptoms as eczema that appears on other parts of the body.
The symptoms of ear eczema can be seen inside the ear, around the ears and in the crease where the ear meets the head, which include 3:
- Dry, flaky skin around the outside of the ear
- Dry, flaky skin inside the ear canal
- Redness and swelling inside or around the ear
- Itchiness inside or around the ear
- Clear discharge leaking from the affected ear
Eczema is usually very itchy and often causes scratching. This can lead to more severe symptoms, such as:
- Swollen, red or darkened skin
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Bleeding, oozing or crusting of affected areas
- Infections in the ear canal
Scratching and dryness caused by ear eczema can also put you at higher risk of developing infections. The symptoms of infected ear eczema include 4:
- Aching pain in the ear
- Excessive redness in the ear
- Green or yellow discharge from the ear
- Flu-like symptoms
Causes And Risk Factors
Outer ear infections are usually caused by . They are sometimes caused by a fungus, such as a yeast, but thats less common. Viral illnesses like the flu or a certain type of shingles may also lead to an outer ear infection. And sometimes allergic reactions for instance, to a shampoo are to blame.
Outer ear infections are also often called swimmers ear because germs can easily get into the ear canal while youre swimming. This means that people who swim a lot are more likely to get outer ear infections.
Minor injuries to the ear for instance, through the use of cotton ear buds to clean your ear, or regularly wearing headphones that you stick inside your ear can increase the risk too. People who have already had an outer ear infection or are generally prone to infections are also more likely to get outer ear infections.
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When To See A Doctor
If a person has chronic eczema flares, they should see their doctor if they develop a fever, experience chills, have low energy, or show signs of infection, such as oozing blisters and excessive itchiness.
If a child or infant develops symptoms of infected eczema, their parent or caregiver should take them to a doctor immediately.
immediate treatment with valacyclovir .
In cases of bacterial infections, a doctor may choose to use either an oral or topical antibiotic. They may also prescribe a steroid cream to reduce associated swelling and discoloration.
Fungal infections require antifungal creams or medication. Similarly, a steroid cream may help with a fungal-infected eczema rash. Some antifungal creams that may help with the infection are available over the counter.
Some people or caregivers may want to supplement medication with natural alternatives to treat or prevent infections.
People seeking natural remedies for infected eczema may choose to try the following:
- essential oils, such as evening primrose and tea tree
- herbal supplements for eczema flares
- natural soaps and creams with emollients
- oatmeal baths to help soothe and dry the eczema
However, it is important to note that these natural remedies should not take the place of prescribed treatment. People should always follow the advice of medical professionals first.
When To Seek Medical Treatment
If you dont know the cause of your itching, have tried a home remedy that didnt help, have any breakdown of the skin or are experiencing pain and swelling, its important to seek medical attention immediately as infections in the ear can be dangerous.
Your family doctor can discuss your symptoms, examine your skin and determine the proper diagnosis to formulate an effective treatment plan. If you have a complicated case, you may be referred to a dermatologist or an ear, nose and throat physician.
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Doheadphones Increase Ear Wax Production
Thats the million-dollar question, isnt it?The short answer is yes, they can contribute to wax buildup, depending on which ones you use and a few other factors.
Earsare very delicate, which is why experts advise you to care for themaccordingly. When you listen to music with headphones on for example, itsimportant that you keep from turning the volume up too loud for too long. Ifyou have ear wax buildup though, you might not hear as well as you would if itwere cleared out, leading you to turn up the volume higher than you should.
Whenyou have wax buildup in your ears, those blockages can cause complications.They can also lead to infections, which are extremely uncomfortable. You shouldtake good care of your ears, especially if you use headphones regularly.
Listeningto music with headphones can add to ear wax woes, but its not the only reasonyou might have more ear wax than usual. Sometimes, your genetics play a role inhow much ear wax your ears produce. Hygiene and lifestyle though are among themost common causes.
Thetype of headphones you use can also exacerbate ear wax problems. When you useheadphones that go over your ears, these lessen the chances of wax buildupsolely by using them alone. Youd need to neglect your hygiene to really causea problem with over-ear headphones. Earbuds though go into your ear canal,which can be a direct cause for your ear wax buildup.
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What Should You Do If Eczema Gets Infected
Its important to see your doctor if you feel that your eczema has become infected. Signs of an infection can include:
- Fluid oozing from the skin.
- Eczema getting worse.
- A yellow crust on the skin surface, or small yellowish-white spots appearing in the eczema.
- The skin becoming swollen and sore.
- A high temperature and generally feeling unwell.
You will need to see a doctor if you have any discharge coming out of your ear, or if you have pain in your ear. If you have flu-like symptoms with any infection, you should also see your GP.
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Managing Your Symptoms At Home
The advice below should help to relieve your symptoms to some extent and help to prevent complications:
- avoid getting your affected ear wet wearing a shower cap while showering and bathing can help, but you should avoid swimming until the condition has fully cleared
- remove any discharge or debris by gently swabbing your outer ear with cotton wool, being careful not to damage it don’t stick cotton wool or a cotton bud inside your ear
- remove anything from your affected ear that may cause an allergic reaction, such as hearing aids, ear plugs and earrings
- use painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve ear pain these aren’t suitable for everyone, so make sure you check the information leaflet that comes with the medication first if you’re still unsure, check with your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist
- if your condition is caused by a boil in your ear, placing a warm flannel or cloth over the affected ear can help it heal faster
Otitis Externa: A Practical Guide To Treatment And Prevention
ROBERT SANDER, M.D., Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Am Fam Physician. 2001 Mar 1 63:927-937.
See patient information handout on otitis externa, written by the author of this article.
Otitis externa is most commonly caused by infection , but it may also be associated with a variety of noninfectious systemic or local dermatologic processes. The most characteristic symptom is discomfort that is limited to the external auditory canal, while the most characteristic signs are erythema and swelling of the canal with variable discharge. Excessive moisture and trauma, both of which impair the canal’s natural defenses, are the two most common precipitants of otitis externa, and avoidance of these precipitants is the cornerstone of prevention. Thorough cleansing of the canal is essential for diagnosis and treatment, but flushing should be avoided. Acidification with a topical solution of 2 percent acetic acid combined with hydrocortisone for inflammation is effective treatment in most cases and, when used after exposure to moisture, is an excellent prophylactic. Other prophylactic measures such as drying the ears with a hair dryer and avoiding manipulation of the external auditory canal may help prevent recurrence.
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When Should I See A Doctor About A Fungal Ear Infection
Fungal ear infections usually cause a fair amount of discomfort and discharge so most people want to see a doctor soon after the condition starts. There are some eardrops available from pharmacies, but the best they can do is reduce the inflammation a bit. In fungal infections, they don’t usually have much effect.
See a doctor sooner rather than later if:
- You are in a lot of pain.
- Your ear produces a lot of discharge.
- You feel generally unwell or develop unusual symptoms such as dizziness.
- You have a high temperature.
- The outer part of your ear looks very mucky.
- Your hearing becomes muffled.
- You’ve bought some treatment from the chemist which hasn’t worked.
Eczema In Ears Causes Symptoms Pictures Treatment And Home Remedies
Eczema in ears is a type of skin condition that affects infants, children, and adults. Ear eczema is quite difficult to deal with. The constant itchiness can result in damaged skin tissues in the ear making it susceptible to an ear infection.
In this post, you will discover some of the possible causes, symptoms, and treatment of ear eczema. You can also explore the images or photos to understand how ear eczema looks like in or outside the ears.
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Headphones Carry Dirt And Bacteria
Depending on the type of headphones you have, they could be more likely to pick up and carry dirt and bacteria. On-ear headphones sit right on your ear canal, making the transmission easier they are also often uncovered, meaning the sponge can absorb more dirt and pathogens.
Ideally, you want something thats easy to clean and doesnt come into close contact with your ear canal. Over-ear headphones are usually covered with strong material, leather and pleather being the easiest to clean, and the cups are replaceable.
Earbuds are the worst as they go straight into the ear. Do yourself a favor, just quickly take out your earphones and look inside the silicone tips. Prepare yourself, it aint gonna be pretty. Luckily, theyre quite simple to clean.
When you take them out of your ears, you usually just pop them in your bag, trouser pockets, or whatever youve got with you, right? And then put them back in our ears later without even thinking about it. You are actually introducing a whole new biome to your sensitive ear ecosystem. Dont do that, clean them regularly, and use a dedicated protective casing to store them when youre not using them.
Cleaning them is simple, and youd be surprised at the gunk that comes out. For easy to follow steps, go to the end of the article.