When you are done swimming, it is possible for water to get trapped in your air canal. When this happens, it creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Keeping your ears dry is the key to protecting your ears from water accumulation and infection.
Before diving in, there are a few things that you can do to prevent swimmer’s ear.
With earplugs, water is not able to enter your ear canal. Just make sure that the earplugs are for swimming and that they fit into your ears well. You might also consider covering your ears with a swimming cap for more protection.
Avoid Bodies of Water with High Bacteria Levels
Fresh bodies of water, including ponds, rivers and lakes may have a lot of bacteria. You should also read the water warnings that beaches put out, since they will warn swimmers when there is more bacteria than usual. This bacteria can get into your ears when you are swimming, putting you at risk for infection.
Only Use Clean Spas and Pools
Bacteria tends to be more prevalent in dirty water. Because of this, it is important to check the cleanliness of all spas and pools before you take the plunge.
Once you are done with swimming for the day, there are a few other precautions that you can take to protect your ears.
Drain the Water
After a swimming session, take a minute to encourage any accumulated water to flow from your ears. To do this, tilt your head to one side and allow the water to come out. You can also gently pull your earlobe to help stimulate further drainage. Do this for both of your ears.
Dry Your Ears
A clean and soft towel can be used to dry the outside of your ear. Just make sure not to insert it too far because this could cause damage to your eardrum. Some people prefer to use a hair dryer for this. If you choose this method, ensure that you keep it at least one foot away from your ear and use the lowest setting. Only focus it on your ear for a few seconds at a time.
Take Advantage of Ear Drops
There are ear drops that are available without a prescription that help to soak up excess water in your ears. You can create your own ear drop solution too by mixing a half teaspoon each of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar. Just make sure to let the excess solution drain from your ears after use. Do not use these if you have a history of ear surgery, pain in your ear or a torn eardrum.
Schedule a Consultation
If you think you have swimmer’s ear or you want to get more insight into your ear health, schedule a consultation with Associates of Otolaryngology today via our quick and easy online contact form. We have three convenient locations in Lone Tree, Denver and Castle Rock. Our highly trained staff is focused on attentive and comprehensive care to ensure a tailored and unique approach to helping our patients.