When you have swimmers ear it can really ruin your wonderful perfect summer day at the pool or at the beach. Luckily, there are several home remedies for swimmer’s ear that can bring relief within a few days.
What is swimmers ear?
Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal that usually occurs after water gets trapped in the car canal. This moist environment creates favorable condition for bacteria breeding. Although bacterial infection is most common, fungal infection has also been reported.
Swimmers ear symptoms
Most of the initial cases are mild but can get worse if left untreated. Itching or tingling sensation in the ear is the first sign of swimmer’s ear. It may also be associated with slight redness, discomfort and sometimes clear odorless fluid may also be seen.
If left untreated the disease may advance to moderate stage. In this stage there may be more severe itching with accompanying pain and excessive discharge of the fluid as well as pus. The ear may be partially blocked due to swelling or debris. Rubbing and digging of the ear may further lead to infection
If the disease is still ignored it may progress to late stage where there may be complete blockage of the ear canal, hearing loss, excessive redness and swelling of the ear and fever. Pain may be severe that radiates to side of the head, face and neck. One may also experience swelling of the neck lymph nodes.
Preventing Swimmers Ear
Avoid dirty pools and water
Avoid swimming in the pools, rivers, lakes that are dirty. Dirty water means more chances of bacterial infection.
Keep your ear dry
Don’t forget to get the water out of your ear after bath. Shake your head in the affected side to drain the water out of your ear. You may use soft towel or cotton to wipe the water out of the ear. You may also use blow dryer with lowest setting and dry it thoroughly.
Avoid foreign objects in the ear
Always avoid foreign object like fingernails or other instrument that may scratch and cut your inner ear canal.
Wear ear plugs during bath or swimming
Always wear ear plugs during swimming and bathing, these can be bought over the counter easily.
Avoid irritants to the ear; you may use cotton balls to protect from irritants.
Wear a tight swim cap
A tight swim cap will also help block the water into the ear. So, always try to wear tight swim cap while you swim.
Swimmers Ear Home Remedy
Before trying any home remedies make sure your eardrum is not punctured. If everything is ok than you may try home remedies.
Mix one part of white vinegar and one part rubbing alcohol and apply few drops to the affected ear after bathing. This will promote the dryness and prevent bacterial growth that can cause swimmer’s ear. If you are lazy, similar over the counter solutions are also available in the market.
Previously hydrogen peroxide was widely used in the management of swimmer’s itch, but recently experts agree that in addition to bad bacteria it also kills good bacteria and cells. Although you may find hydrogen peroxide as a good remedy, its side effects limit its use.
Although these drops are safe if used properly as suggested, it may sometime be dangerous leading to complications if not used properly. Never use the drops if you suspect eardrum injury or had previous ear surgery.
Take pain medications if you experience the pain. These can be bought over counter. You may also use heating pad that will help control the pain.
Topical antibiotics drops with mild steroids may also be used to limit the infection and inflammation. Oral antibiotics may also be need if the infection is severe.