I’m not a swimmer. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I swam, but I have “Swimmer’s Ear.” I can feel the pain in my outer ear down my neck – or my ear canal, the tube that runs from the hole on the outside of my ear to my eardrum.

What is it?

Swimmer’s ear, or “acute diffuse otitis externa,” is an infection in your outer ear canal. In most cases, swimmer’s ear results from bacteria invading the skin inside your ear canal.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • redness and swelling in the outer ear and ear canal
  • pain in the area
  • scaly skin, which may peel off, in and around the ear canal
  • watery or pus-like discharge, which may smell bad
  • itching and irritation in and around the ear canal
  • tenderness when moving the ear or jaw
  • sore and swollen lymph nodes, or “glands,” in the throat

What to do:

Contact your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing any signs or symptoms of swimmer’s ear. Untreated, swimmer’s ear can lead to more serious problems. Usually, you can treat swimmer’s ear with eardrops. It can last for up to 3 weeks.