Swimming can bring hours of enjoyment and is a great form of exercise. Swim classes can give you the confidence to swim in pools and engage in water recreation. Ear infections, such as swimmer’s ear, can put a damper on your water activities. Here are some tips to prevent ear infections while you’re swimming.
Wearing earplugs keeps water out of your ear canal. Bacteria that are normally in your ear canal can begin to multiply in warm, wet conditions, resulting in infections. Make sure the earplugs are designed to keep water out of your ears, not to stop noise. It’s also important to buy earplugs that fit properly.
You can get custom-fitted earplugs from audiologists or from ear, nose, and throat specialists. They’re easier to put in, but they are more expensive and, for children, will need to be replaced as your child ages.
Drying Your Ears
When you finish swimming, tilt your head to the side to let water drain out of each ear. Use a towel to dry the outer portion of your ears. You also can use a hair dryer on the coldest setting. Don’t use cotton swabs or tissues. These devices can scratch the skin in your ear canal.
Use ear drops to help dry your ears after swimming. You can use:
A few drops of rubbing alcohol to evaporate water trapped in your ear.
White vinegar to help balance the pH inside of the ear canal, so you can use ear drops with a mixture of vinegar and rubbing alcohol.
A few drops of olive oil to lubricate dry or itchy skin and repel water.
You may also want to use hydrogen peroxide occasionally. It kills germs and removes ear wax that can trap water in your ear. Studies show hydrogen peroxide may also kill healthy tissue cells, so you’ll need to dilute the solution and rinse it off 30 seconds after the application.
It’s best to have someone apply ear drops for you. Lie down on your side. The person should pull your ear slightly out and up and then put in a few drops. Stay on your side a few minutes after the drops are applied.
Don’t swim in ponds, lakes, or other bodies of water that are heavily polluted. Don’t get in hot tubs that aren’t properly maintained. You risk coming into contact with high levels of bacteria. Instead, swim in pools that are properly cleaned and treated.
Healthy skin in and around your ears can prevent ear infections. You don’t want your skin to be flaky or cracked. Be careful not to scratch or cut your ears. Keep your ears dry and don’t insert objects, such as cotton swabs, into your ear. Be gentle when cleaning ears, and if you have excessive ear wax, let a doctor do it. Don’t swim or use ear drops for a couple of weeks after a doctor cleans your ears. You may have small abrasions or cuts from the cleaning.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics for an ear infection, take the entire course of antibiotics. If you quit taking antibiotics too soon, some bacteria can survive, and your infection might come back and be harder to treat.
Make sure your kids are safe in and around water. Call SwimRight Academy in LA to enroll your children in swimming classes today.