Summer is a popular time for young and old to spend a lot more time in bodies of water. While the ear does a great job keeping a lot of that water out the ear canal, it’s not perfect. For many people, they end up with water caught in their ear. After a while, this can lead to inflammation and infection, if left untreated. To avoid the miserable pain that comes along with swimmers ear, consider the following to treat and prevent the condition.
Treat Swimmers Ear Quickly and Easily
You can treat swimmers ear quickly and easily. All you need to do is ensure all of the water stuck in the ear comes out. You can do this by tilting your head to the side and waiting for a few minutes. If you don’t feel anything come out, it’s possible to help it along with some hot compresses. Place a hot compress on the ear while tilting the head. This should result in discharge. Some of it can be the water that’s stuck in the ear, but a lot of it will be earwax. Earwax melts when warmed up and then it naturally drains.
Be sure the hot compress is not too hot. This can burn the ear, which will cause more problems. A warm compress that is comfortable on the ear will do just as well as a hotter one.
Besides hot compresses, it’s possible to remove water from the ears with eardrops. Most eardrops sold in stores contain alcohol. Alcohol will dry up the inside of the ear and help excess water drain. Simply place the eardrops in the ear and tilt the head. Do this for a few minutes to see if water starts to drip out of the ear.
Since swimmers ear can lead to severe inflammation that causes pain, an over-the-counter pain reliever may be needed. Tylenol, aspirin, Motrin, and other pain relievers are appropriate for swimmers ear pain. If the pain worsens or continues for more than a couple of days, it’s best to contact a doctor for evaluation. Swimmers ear can sometimes turn into an infection, which will require antibiotics to treat. Antibiotics prescribed by a doctor should be taken in its entirety to ensure the infection is completely resolved.
Preventing Swimmers Ear
Swimmers ear is caused by having water stuck in the ear. To prevent the inflammation that occurs, it’s important to keep water out of the ear. The easiest way to do that is to wear earplugs. Not all earplugs will work because they need to fit in the ear. Earplugs in stores usually do not fit everyone’s ears the same and some people end up with water in their ear anyway. In this case, it is worse because instead of the water naturally coming out, it becomes stuck because of the earplug. This is why it is important to speak to a doctor to have earplugs specifically made to fit into the ear.
If earplugs are not desired, eardrops can be used to help move the water out of the ear. Eardrops specifically for people vulnerable to swimmers ear are available in stores, but it’s possible to make some at home. One part vinegar and one part alcohol work well. Simply use a couple of these drops in the ears before going swimming and any water that enters should easily come out.
Whenever water does become lodged in the ear, it’s critical to remove it as soon as possible. Do this by tilting the head to the side for a few minutes. Shaking the head in the direction of the tilt can help the water move towards the exit of the ear canal. Using the hand as a suction can also help with removing the water. Simply place the palm of the hand on the ear and push slightly against the ear and then away from it. Doing this several times can greatly help bring the water outside of the ear.
Swimmers ear is not serious unless it becomes infected. It’s frustrating to deal with, though. Try to prevent swimmers ear as much as possible. If it does happen, treat it quickly with the options above. If it doesn’t get better, turn to a medical professional for help.