Spring is here, bringing with it warm weather, sunny skies, and, unfortunately, seasonal allergies and infections. As we welcome in the new season, be on the lookout for these common springtime ear and eye infections, what causes them, and when you should seek treatment:
Common Ear Infections in the Spring:
- Swimmer’s ear: The warmer weather might have you searching for a swimsuit for your first beach and pool trips of the season. Swimming in lakes, oceans and pools, however, can lead to otitis externa, or swimmer’s ear. This happens when you retain water in your outer ear, which can create a warm and wet environment for bacteria to thrive in. If you show even minor symptoms of swimmer’s ear, including itching in your ear canal, redness inside your ear or mild discomfort made worse by pulling on your outer ear, visit a health care provider as soon as possible.
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- Clogged/stuffy ears: Rising temperatures can cause changes in barometric pressure, and mixed with seasonal allergies, this can lead to your body producing histamine antibodies. When histamines are released, an increase in mucus production can build up and lead to feelings of fullness and pressure in your ears. Luckily, you can find over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants in most drugstores, which can offer relief for any built-up pressure.
Common Eye Conditions in the Spring:
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis): Speaking of histamines, those released in reaction to pollen can produce pink eye symptoms that include redness in one or both eyes. Symptoms include itching, tearing and inflammation of the eyes, as well as sneezing and watery nasal discharge. You don’t want to mess with potential eye infections so be sure to seek treatment early! We are well versed in these conditions and can check your eyes out if you experience any of these symptoms.
- Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis: Appearing largely in the spring and summer months, seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is caused by exposure to pollen, grass and other airborne allergens. Symptoms like intense itchiness, red or swollen eyes and in some cases, mucus discharge can occur as a result. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is often confused with pink eye, but symptoms and causes differ for both. For example, intense itchiness of both eyes is only a symptom of allergic conjunctivitis. Also, pink eye often begins in one eye before spreading to the other, whereas allergies affect both at once. Seek medical help if you suspect you have any type of conjunctivitis.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, however mild, it’s always good to get tested, and we’ve got your back. PhysicianOne offers virtual visits that allow you to speak with an experienced provider from the comfort of your own home, no matter the time of day or night. Book a visit in one of our conveniently located centers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York to get your eyes or ears checked out.