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How can I prevent swimmer's ear?

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These tips may help you avoid getting swimmer's ear:

  • Be careful when cleaning your ears. Most doctors advise against using cotton swabs unless you're using it to clean the outside of the ear. Instead, wipe the outer ear with a clean washcloth. Do not dig into the ear canal, and never use a pointed object. Scratching the skin of the ear canal can let germs get in under the skin and cause infection.
  • Avoid earplugs, if possible. These can irritate the ear canal.
  • After swimming, tilt and shake your head to drain water from your ears.
  • Use a shower cap to keep ears dry while showering. Or dry your ears after showering with a hair dryer: Set it on low and hold it about a foot from your ear.
  • You can also dry out the ear and help kill germs after swimming or showering by squirting two or three drops of acetic acid or a combination of isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar into your ear. Tilt your head so the solution gets to the bottom of the ear canal; then let the liquid drain out.
  • Avoid swimming in dirty water. If you swim in a lake or stream, rinse your ears out afterward with clean water or the solution mentioned above.
  • If you wear a hearing aid, take it out as often as possible to give your ear a chance to dry out; a hearing aid can push wax deeper into the ear canal.

From: How Can I Prevent Swimmer's Ear? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Massachusetts Eye and Ear: "Swimmer's Ear: How to Avoid this Common Problem."

Mayo Clinic: "Swimmer's Ear."

UpToDate: "External Otitis (Including Swimmer's Ear) (Beyond the Basics)," "External Otitis: Pathogenesis, Clinical Features, and Diagnosis."

American Academy of Otolaryngology: "Swimmer's Ear."

CDC: "Facts About 'Swimmer's Ear."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on April 2, 2019

SOURCES:

Massachusetts Eye and Ear: "Swimmer's Ear: How to Avoid this Common Problem."

Mayo Clinic: "Swimmer's Ear."

UpToDate: "External Otitis (Including Swimmer's Ear) (Beyond the Basics)," "External Otitis: Pathogenesis, Clinical Features, and Diagnosis."

American Academy of Otolaryngology: "Swimmer's Ear."

CDC: "Facts About 'Swimmer's Ear."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on April 2, 2019

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