A Swimmer’s Worst Nightmare

Summer is in full swing, which means it may be time to take extra precautions. Swimmer’s ear occurs when germs get into the outer ear canal. This can happen when the outer ear canal is scratched and germs are able to get inside. In addition, water sitting in the outer ear canal can encourage bacteria growth leading to swimmer’s ear. While the precautions listed below don’t guarantee you’ll avoid getting swimmer’s ear, they are good steps to help prevent the infection.

Keep ears dry

Keep your ears dry to discourage water from creating bacteria growth in the outer ear canal. After you swim, tilt your head to each side and shake your head to let the water drain out. You can also roll small pieces of tissues and gently put them in the outer ear canal to soak up the extra water. Additionally, you can use a hair dryer on the lowest, coolest setting held away from the ear to help dry the ear.

Use ear drops

Ear drops can help fight bacteria in your ear and keep your ear dry. You can find ear drops at any pharmacy to help fight swimmer’s ear.

Make sure to swim in clean water

Bacteria in dirty water can get into your ear, causing an infection. If a river or lake has a lot of bacteria in it, it is probably best not to swim there. Always be sure to check the cleanliness of pools and spas.

Use earplugs

Wear earplugs when swimming if you are unsure if the water contains bacteria. The earplugs will keep any bacteria out and keep your ears dry.

If you are experiencing ear pain, it’s best to consult your ENT for a proper diagnosis and, if needed, treatment.