How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa, is a bacterial infection of the skin of the outer ear canal. This is different than a typical ear infection (otitis media), which affects the middle ear. Swimmer’s ear can start after frequent water exposure such as swimming, diving, water skiing, going to water parks or other water activities. If water gets trapped in the ear long enough, it can facilitate bacterial growth resulting in an infection. Symptoms may include a feeling of fullness in the ear, hearing changes, itching, pain or discharge.
If you plan to do a lot of swimming or other water activities this summer, learn how to protect your ears from infection:
- Wear earplugs specifically designed for swimming
- If you are prone to swimmer’s ear, wear earplugs in the shower
- Dry the outside of your ears with a towel or cloth after bathing or swimming. Avoid using Q-tips because they can cause abrasions to the skin inside the ear canal and contribute to infection.
- Make a solution using 1 part white vinegar and 1 part rubbing alcohol. Add a few drops to each ear after swimming. (Do not use any drops or solution in the ear if you suspect a punctured ear drum).
Having frequent bacterial infections in the ear may be a sign that there is an imbalance in body. Speak with your Naturopathic Doctor at Arizona Natural Medicine about how to fortify the immune system and help your body be less prone to infections.