Swimmer's Ear - Treatment

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What kinds of treatment, including ear drops, do you use for swimmer's ear? What works best?

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What is the treatment of swimmer's ear?

Regardless of the cause, moisture and irritation will prolong the course of the problem. For this reason, the ear should be kept dry. While showering or swimming use an ear plug (one that is designed to keep water out), or use cotton with Vaseline on the outside to plug the ears.

Scratching the inside of the ear or using cotton swabs should be avoided. This will only aggravate the irritated skin, and in most situations will make the condition worse. In fact, scratching the inside of the ear will just make the ear itch more, and any medications prescribed will be ineffective. A hearing aid should be left out as much as possible until swelling and discharge stops.

The most common treatment consists of ear drops containing antibiotics or antibiotics with corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. Oral antibiotics may also be required in some cases. These should be used as directed. In some situations, a "wick" will need to be placed in the ear canal to stent it open and serve as a conduit for the ear drops. Periodic, and sometimes frequent, suctioning of the ear canal helps to keep it open, remove debris, and decrease bacterial counts.

Pain-relieving medications such as acetaminophen or antihistamines to decrease itching may also be recommended along with antibiotics.

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Comment from: WaterBaby75, 35-44 Female Published: July 31

For pain and swelling, I use antipyrine and benzocaine otic solution USP (numbing drops for the ear). For bacterial infection, I use neomycin and polymyxin B sulfates and hydrocortisone otic (eardrops). I also used over-the-counter ibuprofen for pain along with the numbing drops. You do not want the drops to wear off and the pain to start all over again, trust me!

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