Can I Workout with an Ear Infection 2024? Experts Explain

Exercising with an ear infection can be a balancing act between health and fitness. “Can I Workout with an Ear Infection? Experts Explain” provides professional advice on how to manage your workouts when dealing with this common ailment.

What are Ear Infections?

Symptoms and Causes

Your body is an incredible system that signals when something’s amiss, and ear infections are no exception. Symptoms can include:

  • Ear pain is an intense, sharp, throbbing ache that worsens when lying down.
  • Pressure: A sensation of fullness in your ear, as if underwater.
  • Fever: Your body’s natural response to fight off infection.
  • Hearing loss: Often temporary, but can be worrisome.

Types of Ear Infections

  • Middle ear infection (otitis media) occurs behind the eardrum where tiny bones vibrate to enable hearing. It’s generally what you think of when a child has an ear infection.
  • Inner ear infection (otitis interna): Causes dizziness or vertigo, as it affects the nerves that govern balance.
  • Outer ear infection (otitis externa): Occurs in the ear canal and is often called “swimmer’s ear.”

Each type affects a different part of your ear and can stem from bacterial or viral sources.

Potential Complications

While many ear infections will resolve on their own, it’s thrilling to know that you can prevent long-term issues by understanding potential complications:

  • Hearing loss: Though often temporary, it can persist if infections recur.
  • Mastoiditis: A rare but serious condition affecting the mastoid bone behind the ear.
  • Meningitis: In severe instances, an infection can spread and lead to inflammation of the brain’s protective membranes.

Can I Workout with an Ear Infection?

A person with an ear infection sits on a workout mat, looking frustrated. A dumbbell and resistance band lay untouched nearby

When to Avoid Exercise

Infection Severity: If you’re experiencing intense pain, pressure, or dizziness, your body hints at the need for rest. Intense workouts could worsen these symptoms, especially if you’re dealing with an inner ear infection which can significantly affect your balance.

  • Swimming: Avoid swimming to prevent water pressure from intensifying ear pain and to keep your ear from getting wet, which can exacerbate the infection.
  • Symptoms to Watch: Dehydration, loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting are additional symptoms that should encourage you to hold off exercise. These could indicate your immune system is already under significant stress, and physical exertion might overtax it.

Safe Exercise Practices

Light Activity: If you must exercise, consider gentle walking. It’s a low-impact activity that keeps you moving without disrupting your balance or causing undue stress on your body.

  • Hydration: Keep hydrated! Drinking plenty of fluids is crucial when you’re sick. It supports your immune system and helps in recovery.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds during and after exercise. If working out increases pain or fatigue, take it as a sign to rest.

Treatment and Prevention

A person with an ear infection refrains from exercising, opting for rest and medical treatment instead

Medications and Remedies

Your journey to recovery often begins with prescription antibiotics if your ear infection—commonly otitis media or otitis externa—is bacterial. For pain management, over-the-counter options like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can be effective.

Sometimes, ear drops prescribed by your healthcare provider are necessary, particularly for infections of the outer ear (otitis externa), to directly alleviate pain and inflammation.

If you’re experiencing discomfort, consider these home remedies:

  • Warm compresses applied to the affected ear can soothe pain.
  • Hydration and rest are essential for helping your body heal more efficiently.
  • Maintain good hygiene to prevent the spread of infection.

Safeguarding Ear Health

Preventing ear infections is as important as treating them! To safeguard your ear health, be proactive with the following tips:

  • Avoid cold and allergy triggers that can lead to an upper respiratory infection, sinus infection, or sore throat, sometimes leading to ear infections.
  • Keep your ears dry and clean, especially after swimming or showering.
  • Practice good hand hygiene to minimize the risk of transmitting infections.
  • When congested, a decongestant might be recommended by your healthcare provider to prevent complications like otitis media with effusion.


Does exercise help an ear infection?

Low-intensity exercise may be tolerable with an ear infection, but avoid activities that cause pain or discomfort.

Can I go to the gym if I have an infection?

You can go to the gym with a mild infection, but ensure you don’t overexert yourself and listen to your body’s signals.

Should you rest with an ear infection?

Resting with an ear infection is essential to support healing and avoid exacerbating symptoms.

What should you not do with an ear infection?

With an ear infection, avoid swimming, inserting earbuds, and exposing yourself to rapid altitude changes or pressure.

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