Swimmer’s ear is an outer ear infection that thrives and develops when contaminated water sits in the ear for an extended period. This ear infection can be very uncomfortable and painful, but this condition is 100 percent preventable. Frequent swimmers and divers are prone to this outer ear infection, but you can avoid swimmer’s ear with appropriate treatment and hygiene practices.
So, before you dive in the pool this summer, do the following five steps to prevent recurrent swimmer’s ear and other potential complications.
1. Maintain Proper Ear Hygiene
The best way to prevent recurrent swimmer’s ear is by practicing proper ear hygiene. Using improper cleaning methods for your ears, such as Q-tips or ear candling, can eventually damage your ears and make them more prone to infections.
2. Practice a Good Skin Routine
Keeping a good skin routine will help you avoid pesky ear infections. If you have allergies, eczema, or seborrhea, you’re more prone to getting swimmer’s ear. But even if you don’t, dry skin will make you prone to swimmer’s ear as well.
Key tip: Keep hair products or other chemicals out of your ears by using ear plugs when washing your hair or face.
3. Wear Earplugs While Swimming
Ensure that your earplugs properly fit and can keep water out. Wearing earplugs while swimming helps keep water out of the ears and prevents an outer ear infection. You can find moldable earplugs at your local drugstore or some healthcare provider offices.
4. Use Ear Drops To Prevent Swimmer’s Ear
Applying ear drops can be very helpful in preventing swimmer’s ear. Have someone help you use ear drops so that the process goes smoothly.
Ear drops are best applied while lying down on your side with your ear facing up. Pull your ear out and up to help straighten the ear canal, then put a few drops in your ear. Continue on the next side for relief, but make sure you lie there for a few minutes to ensure the drops are absorbed.
However, if you have excessive ear wax or ear blockages, ear drops are useless.
5. Keep Your Ears Clean and Dry After Swimming
The best way to prevent recurrent swimmer’s ear is to keep your ears clean and dry after swimming or bathing. Tip your head to the side until the water runs out of the ear, then repeat on the other ear.
If you have recurrent swimmer’s ears, we recommend creating a mixture of rubbing alcohol and vinegar. Drop a little in your ears after swimming to help dry out your ears. However, don’t do this often. If you overuse it, the skin inside the ears will get dry and chapped.
Keep these steps to prevent swimmer’s ear in your memory bank when heading out to the pool this summer! If you experience excessive ear wax, recurrent infections, or any other ear issues, contact us at Allergy & ENT Associates to make an appointment with our ENT doctors in Houston. We’ll give you the proper treatment!