- Tips for Treating Ear Infections
- Ear Infection Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
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- Ear Infection (Otitis Media) FAQs
- Patient Comments: Swimmer's Ear - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Swimmer's Ear - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Swimmer's Ear - Prevention
- Patient Comments: Swimmer's Ear - Experience
- Find a local Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor in your town
- Swimmer's ear facts
- What is "swimmer's ear" or acute external otitis?
- What are symptoms of swimmer's ear?
- What is chronic swimmer's ear?
- What home remedies treatments help cure swimmer's ear?
- How can swimmer's ear be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for swimmer's ear?
- What about swimmer's ear in children?
- Why do ears itch?
- What should I do if I get a foreign object or insect in my ear?
Quick GuideEar Infection Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
How can swimmer's ear be prevented?
- Decrease exposure to water. If you are prone to infections it is advisable that you use an ear plug when you bathe or swim. Swimmer's ear drops or alcohol drops (Swim-EAR®) used in the ear after water exposure followed by drying the ear with a hair dryer held at arms length will often help keep the ear free of moisture
- Do not insert instruments, scratch, or use cotton swabs in the ears.
- Try to keep the ear free of wax. This may require visits to the doctor to have your ears cleaned.
- You should not attempt to put anything into the ear canal (such as a swab) to try to remove ear wax that is deep within the ear canal.
- If you already have an ear infection, or if you have a hole in your eardrum, or if you have had ear surgery or ear tubes, first consult your doctor prior to swimming and before you use any type of ear drop.
- A preventative ear drop solution can be cheaply and easily made by mixing equal parts of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar (50:50 mixture). This solution will increase the rate of evaporation of water in the ear canal and has antibacterial properties. Using this solution to rinse the ear before and after water exposure can serve as a protective measure against infection.
- Mineral oil ear drops can be used to protect the ear from water when a dry crusty skin condition exists.
What is the prognosis for swimmer's ear?
Swimmer's ear is a treatable condition that usually resolves quickly with appropriate treatment. Most often, swimmer's ear can be easily treated with antibiotic ear drops. Chronic swimmer's ear may require more intensive treatment. Swimmer's ear typically does not have any long-term or serious complications.