Swimmer’s ear is a condition that is commonly seen during the summer and in kids. It is an infection of the outer ear that can lead to problems deeper inside the ear over time. Here are some helpful hints to prevent swimmer’s ear and enjoy your fun in the sun and surf.
Swimmer’s ear doesn’t just happen to swimmers. They are the most affected but it can happen whenever the conditions are right for bacteria to grow out of control in the outer ear. The bacteria in question are helpful in small amounts. They are present naturally on the skin of the body.
When moisture gets in the ear canal, an infection can develop because the bacteria multiply. Swimmer’s ear also occurs in the presence of cuts in the ear, various skin conditions like eczema and seborrhea and hair chemicals. But, you can take preventative measures to keep the infection from beginning.
1. Wear ear plugs when swimming. Ear plugs prevent the amount of water that is common after swimming from entering the ear canal. You will still need to dry your ears but there will be less water present deeper in the ear.
2. Place cotton balls in your ears when perming or coloring. Hair products can contain strong chemicals that irritate the outer ear. Because your ears are on the sides of your head, they collect the droplets that can roll down in the ear. A small piece of cotton in each ear catches any drips. Dry your ears well after shampooing.
3. Take care of your eczema. Skin conditions can cause you to scratch and damage the skin in your ear canal. Couple that with water and bacteria and you’ll have a problem. Keep the area conditioned so the skin is not broken and dry well after swimming, washing hair and sweating.
4. Check for any food allergies. Sometimes, allergies to foods can cause changes in your skin. For example, eating greasy foods can irritate and cause flaking of the skin and that includes your ears. Excess scratching of your ears can remove the protective layer of wax and lead to infections like swimmer’s ear.
5. Use a blow dryer. You can use the lowest setting to avoid the loud noise. Only a few minutes is needed to dry hard to reach water that may have settled down in your ear canal.
6. Dry ears well after bathing. Mostly we think of swimming as the culprit for this condition, but water can splash in the ear canal during a bath or a shower. When you dry the body, don’t forget the ears.
Swimmer’s ear doesn’t have to ruin your day. Use the above hints to help prevent the condition.