Swimmer's Ear (cont.)
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What causes swimmer's ear?
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The skin lining the ear canal and outer ear serves as a barrier against infection from bacteria and fungi. The ear is protected against infection because the lining is slightly acidic. The lining is also a physical barrier that protects against excessive moisture.
Any break in the skin lining can lead to infection, allowing bacteria or fungi to invade the outer ear.
The barrier can become broken and lead to an infection in the following ways:
Generally, any inflammation of the outer ear canal, such as infections, allergies, or skin conditions, can lead to swimmer's ear.
The most common bacteria responsible for outer ear infection are Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Other bacteria are less common. In less than 10% of cases fungus causes of swimmer's ear.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/7/2015
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