How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear
The summer is fast approaching. With the warmer weather, many of us will opt to spend more time in the pool or at the beach. If you have grown up around the water, you are probably familiar with swimmer’s ear. However, did you know you can get swimmer’s ear from any source of water and not just the beach? You can get swimmer’s ear from the bathtub or even a sauna!
Sometimes referred to as “otitis externa,” swimmer’s ear is actually the result of an infection. The infection can be very painful and it is usually found in the outer ear canal. The infection will actually create inflammation as a result of trapped moisture and bacteria. The ear canal will get extremely irritated and red, often swelling up due to the irritation of the trapped debris.
Symptoms and Treatment
Symptoms of swimmer’s ear include ear pain and itching in the ear canal. It is estimated that over 2 million people will go to their doctor as a result of swimmer’s ear each year. Children make up the majority of that statistic as they are very susceptible to the infection.
The Good News
Swimmer’s ear is a treatable condition that usually responds well to drops that you place directly into the ear. You should also know swimmer’s ear is not contagious; you can’t get it from another person. However, there are several measures you can take to prevent swimmer’s ear.
How to Prevent It?
So, what is the best way to prevent swimmer’s ear? First, avoid any sort of dirty water. This includes swimming, bathing or other activities where you can submerge your head. You should also make sure that your ears stay free of water. Also, make sure that water doesn’t get trapped inside your ears. When your ears are damp or wet that’s a perfect place for bacteria to take up residence. Bacteria and fungi love moisture so be sure to keep those ears clean and dry.
If you are in the water a lot and looking for a great way to prevent water from entering your ear you may want to consider buying custom earplugs. These are made from custom molds of your ear canal and are designed to fit you perfectly to keep water out. They are one of the best ways to prevent water from entering your ear.
Staying Clean and Dry in the Key
You can also take other steps to reduce the risk of swimmer’s ear. These steps include drying your ear canals thoroughly after contact with water whether it is a bath, swim or shower. Always use a clean, soft towel when cleaning your ears.
After you clean the outside of your ears you will want to tilt your head or shake your head to dislodge any remaining water. If you are prone to ear infections you may want to consider wearing a shower cap in the bath or shower. This ensures that no water enters your ear during your daily personal hygiene routine. If your ears feel full or “feel” like there’s water in them you can use a hair dryer to apply heat. Make sure to use the lowest setting and hold the hairdryer at least 12 inches from the ear itself.
To ensure you don’t ruin your summer fun, practice the above tips to prevent swimmer’s ear.
Valsalva maneuver trick can be highly helpful in getting water out from the ears. It assists in popping the ears in a way that the Eustachian tubes are opened, and water is pushed out.