Preventing Swimmer’s Ear This Summer

Jun 4 • 2015

Trips to the swimming pool are some of the most common summer activities for families. If the proper precautions are not taken, people can experience otitis externa, also known as swimmer’s ear. This is an infection of the outer ear canal that can occur at any age and is painful and uncomfortable. There are over 2 million health care visits in the United States every year due to swimmer’s ear. Luckily you can prevent this by following a few easy steps:

  1. Keep your ears as dry as you can. Purchase ear plugs, swim molds, or a swimming cap to keep water out
    of your ears.
  2. Don’t put any objects in your ear canal, including your fingers or cotton swabs.
  3. When you’re done swimming, make sure your ears are dried thoroughly. Towel dry them and tilt your head each direction to let water leave the ear canal. If you still have water in your ears, use a hair dryer on the lowest heat and speed. Hold it away from your ear.
  4. Don’t try to remove ear wax. Many people don’t realize that ear wax actually helps protect your ear canal from getting infected. If you think your ear canal is blocked, speak with your doctor to determine the best course of action. 5. If you’re thinking about using ear drops, speak to your doctor to see what the best option is for your needs. If you are experiencing drainage or have itchy, flaky, swollen, or painful ears, call your health care provider.

If you’ve recently had an ear infection or have undergone ear surgery, don’t go swimming without clearing it with your doctor first. Otherwise, keep these recommendations in mind to make your summertime pool plans as painless and enjoyable as possible.