Swimmer's ear is a common ailment caused by an infection to the outer ear canal. The swimmer's ear infection causes pain and discomfort for all swimmers regardless of age. Below are some tips to prevent swimmer's ear.
- Keep your ears as dry as possible while swimming by using bathing caps, ear plugs, or custom fit swim molds.
- Dry your ears immediately after swimming or showering using a towel. Proper drying technique involves tilting your head to hold each ear facing down and pulling your ear lobe in different directions to help the water drain out. If water still remains, you can try using a hair dryer to push air through the canal. If you use the hair dryer, be sure to only use it on the lowest setting and keep the dryer several inches from the ear.
- Don't put any type of object in your ear canal, such as Q-tips or fingers, or try to remove ear wax. Ear wax protects the ear canal from infections, such as swimmer's ear. Ear wax should only be removed by health care providers.
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about using commercial swimmer's ear prevention ear drops after swimming. It is important to take note that these drops should not be used by people with ear tubes, damaged ear drums, outer ear infections, or those with pus or liquid draining from the ear.
- Be sure to see your doctor right away if your ears are itchy, painful, swollen, or have any drainage.
- Check disinfectant and pH levels of pools or hot tubs regularly. Pools and hot tubs with proper disinfectant/pH levels are much less likely to spread bacteria than those with improper levels. If you are using a public pool, consider using pool test strips to check the levels yourself before going in.