It’s summer time, and for most of us, that means we will spend some hot days in the pool. Pool time is a lot of fun, but it also comes with the risk of swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear is a type of ear infection, caused by bacteria that breeds in the ear canal when moisture is trapped there. Here are some ways to make sure you prevent this painful infection.
Keep it Dry
Keeping your ears dry and clean, especially after swimming, is a sure-fire way to prevent swimmer’s ear, because the bacteria need moisture to thrive. Thoroughly dry your ears out after swimming. You can use a hair dryer on the cool setting if you think tilting your head and using a towel isn’t cutting it. While some people use rubbing alcohol to help speed up the process, doing this too often can actually cause more infection in the long run.
Plug them Up
Wearing ear plugs while swimming can prevent moisture from getting trapped in your ears in the first place. You can find swimming ear plugs at some stores or at your audiologist’s office. Be sure to get well-fitting ear plugs designed for swimming.
Ear Drops to the Rescue
Ear drops can also be used after swimming to facilitate drying out the ear canal. Some favorite liquids to use are rubbing alcohol, olive oil, hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar. Rubbing alcohol can cause excessive dryness with repeated use and hydrogen peroxide can also kill beneficial bacteria in your ear, so use those two sparingly. If your ears are clogged with excessive earwax, ear drops will not be effective. Also, never use ear drops if you have a synthetic ear tubes or a ruptured ear drum.
Ear Wax basics
Too much or too little ear wax can also cause a problem because ear wax is important for maintaining ear health and preventing infections.
Read more about how to clean and maintain ear wax here:
Keep Your Skin Healthy
Healthy skin in and around your ears contributes to ear health and prevents infection. If the skin in your ears is too try or cracked, the environment can promote infection. If you have dry, flaky skin in or around your ears, try these tips:
- Keep your ears dry
- Don’t scratch or cut your ears in any way
- Don’t use Q-tips or other objects inserted in the ear. These can damage the skin.
- Don’t clean your ears forcefully. Be gentle with any cleaning, and if you have excessive ear wax, see a doctor for cleaning.
If you keep in mind all of these preventative tips, your risk of any infection, including swimmer’s ear, is reduced. As always, regular check-ups with your audiologist is key to maintaining ear health.
Drop by at 88 N San Mateo Dr. San Mateo, CA 94401 (650) 342-9449