Anyone who spends the summer months at a pool, knows the dangers of swimmer's ear.
It develops when water sites in the ear for a prolonged length of time allowing bacteria to grow. The condition can be quite painful and will usually require a trip to a PBMC Health doctor for prescription ear drops.
The good news? Swimmer's ear can be prevented by taking some simple precautions. Read on to learn more.
Make Sure Your Ears Stay Clean and Dry
When water remains in your ears after swimming, it sets up a breeding ground for the germs that cause swimmer's ear. After swimming, dry each ear canal. Tip your head to the side until all the water runs out of your ear. Repeat on the other side. If you have consistent infections, carefully use a hair dryer set on the lowest temperature setting to dry your ear canal. Don't do this too often to prevent drying out your ear canal which increases the chances of infection.
Maintain Good Ear Wax Hygiene
Ear wax helps prevent ear infections and it keeps water from entering your ear. Having too much or too little can cause problems so take care when cleaning your ears. Don't clean your ears using unsafe methods like ear candling and never vigorously clean your ears. If you have excessive ear wax, a doctor can irrigate your ears safely.
Wear Ear Plugs
Ear plugs will keep water our of your ears while swimming. Purchase a pair at the drug store that fit properly and are intended to keep water out of the ear. Don't buy the foam type that are made to reduce noise.
Care For Your Skin
The skin of your ear canal plays a big role in preventing swimmer's ear. If the skin is dry, cracked or otherwise impaired, you're more at risk for infection. Therefore, if you have conditions like eczema, seborrhea or skin allergies, you're more susceptible to swimmer's ear. Make sure your skin conditions are properly treated by a doctor. If you don't have a skin condition but have dry, itchy ears, you are also at risk for swimmer's ear. Try rubbing a drop of olive oil into your ear canal every day to keep your skin in good condition.
Think you might have swimmer's ear? Contact a Peconic Bay Medical Center physician for an appointment or visit a Long Island medical center that offers urgent care services.