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    Ear Canal Problems (Swimmer's Ear)

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    Home Treatment

    Some home treatment can help swimmer's ear. But it is important to see a doctor first. If your doctor says it's okay, you can try the following:

    • Gently rinse the ear using a bulb syringe and warm saline solution or a half-and-half solution of white vinegar and warm water. Make sure the flushing solution is body temperature. Inserting cool or hot fluids in the ear may cause dizziness.
    • If your ear is itchy, try nonprescription swimmer's eardrops, such as Swim-Ear. Use them before and after swimming or getting your ears wet. Read and follow all instructions on the label, and learn how to insert eardrops safely camera.gif.
    • To ease ear pain, apply a warm washcloth or a heating pad set on low. There may be some drainage when the heat melts earwax. For more information about earwax removal, see the topic Earwax.
      • Do not use a heating pad when you are in bed. You may fall asleep and burn yourself.
      • Do not use a heating pad on a child.
    • Do not use ear candles. They have no proven benefit in the removal of earwax or other objects in the ear and can cause serious injury.
    Medicine you can buy without a prescription
    Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:

    Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

    Safety tips
    Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
    • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
    • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
    • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
    • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
    • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
    • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.
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    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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