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Into Swimming? Avoid Swimmer's Ear

Into Swimming? Avoid Swimmer's Ear

If Michael Phelps and Dara Torres have inspired you to hit the pool, let me warn you about an unwanted side effect of spending lots of time in the water — swimmer's ear. When your ear is exposed to excess moisture, (whether you're swimming or bathing), water can stay trapped in your ear canal. Then the skin inside your ear can become soggy and begin to break down. When this happens, water dilutes the acidity of the ear canal allowing bacteria or fungi to penetrate the skin, causing a painful swimmer's ear infection. Actually, you don't even have to be near water in order to contract swimmer's ear since anything that causes a break in the skin of your ear canal can lead to this infection. That's why cleaning your ear with a cotton swab (or sticking anything else in your ear for that matter) is not recommended. Once there's damage to the skin, you're at risk for an infection.

To find out how you can prevent swimmer's ear


Swimmer's ear can cause pain, tenderness, ringing, and itchiness in your ear, so you want to avoid it at all costs. As soon as you're finished with a swim or shower, shake your head to one side and then the other to get excess water out of your ear. Over the counter drops that contain a dilute solution of acetic acid or alcohol can also help dry up your ear canal. Wearing ear plugs while swimming is also a good way to prevent water from entering your ear in the first place. Of course, whether you swim or not, you also want to stop cleaning your ear with cotton swabs.


Join The Conversation
agmon agmon 9 years
the best thing against Ear infection or swimmers ear is the eardoc. With the Eardoc there relay inst any problem. as it is non invasive and it treats the problem and not the symptoms
Da-Ly Da-Ly 9 years
I get swimmers ear if I swim at least 5 times in a row without using a solution to dry out my ears. :S It sucks, I'm never doing that again. But luckily, never an infection. *knock on wood*
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i used to lifeguard and i would get swimmers ear or an ear infection ALL the time. there were summers that i was on soo much medication that it was insane. there was one summer that i even had such a BAD swimmer's ear infection that it ate a hole in my eardrum. that was NOT fun.
runningesq runningesq 9 years
I was (am :P) going to say the same thing as fuzzles: 1 part vinegar to 1 part alcohol, and use an ear dropper!
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
I used to compete to! :) I remember toting around a small squeezie bottle with a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 1 part alcohol that I used after swimming. Worked like a charm, and it's cheaper than the OTC solutions. It's also helpful to give your ears a few shots of warm air from a hairdryer.
L7amiguita L7amiguita 9 years
Michael...not 'Michale' :) Great tips!
zabrow zabrow 9 years
i swam competitively for about twelve years & got swimmers ear CONSTANTLY when i was little. whenever the doctor would tell me i'd have to stay out of the water for a week or two to give it a chance to clear, i'd cry, even though being in the water so much was what was causing me so much pain with the ear infections.
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