Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa) Care Plan

By David Morley, MD
October 13, 2020

See a doctor in person if…

You’re unable to get the ear drops into your ear, develop pain in the back of your head, worsening ear pain despite treatment, persistent fevers, or sudden hearing loss

Check-in with K Health if…

You’re not feeling better within 3-4 days, come back and we will re-evaluate your treatment plan

What is an outer ear infection?

An outer ear infection, also known as swimmer’s ear, is often caused by water that stays in your ears after swimming. The moist area promotes bacterial growth. You can also get swimmer’s ear by putting cotton swabs, fingers, or other objects in your ear. Outer ear infections are less commonly caused by a virus.

Read more about ear infections

Over-the-counter medication

  • Experiencing pain or fever? Take 400mg of ibuprofen or 650mg of acetaminophen every 6 hours with food, as needed

Prevention tips

  • Protect your ear from moisture by gently wiping the outer part of the ear dry with a soft cloth towel after showering or swimming
  • Do not put anything in your ear except the ear drops I’ve recommended.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

David Morley, MD

Dr. Morley specializes in emergency medicine and received his medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine in New York City. He completed his residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.