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Thread: Swimmer's ear -- treatment and prevention

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    kristenerika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Waco TX

    Swimmer's ear -- treatment and prevention

    Not sure if this is the area to post this question or not.

    I've got three kids who have pretty much been in the pool continuously since it was finished about a month ago (that's an exaggeration, of course, they probably are in the water 2-3 hours a day). All of them have been struggling with some degree of swimmer's ear for about the past two weeks.

    Does anyone have any tips or tricks to prevent/treat this?

    I've tried having them shake their heads thoroughly after swimming, rinsing their ears with diluted vinegar, rinsing their ears with peroxide, using grapefruit seed extract ear drops, and using OTC "ear drying drops" (I haven't done all of this at once). None of it really seems to get rid of the problem. The option of "no swimming for a few days" breaks their hearts -- these are kids who have been begging and pleading for a pool for years and now that they've got it they want to use it. Which I understand.

    The thing that is odd is that I practically grew up in a swimming pool and have never had a single case of swimmer's ear.

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    TFP Guide

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    Feb 2015
    Chandler AZ

    Re: Swimmer's ear -- treatment and prevention

    You may want to look into soft moldable silicone earplugs. I believe the big box stores (Wally World and others) carry them. Or Google for: ear plugs for swimming kids
    Saw online that 6 pair (12 plugs) would run 3-5 bucks.
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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    'burbs of Augusta, Georgia

    Re: Swimmer's ear -- treatment and prevention

    a bottle of acidified alcohol works for me. I bought the first bottle at the drug store (Swimmer's Ear) and then just refilled with a 50:50 solution. The vinegar makes the ear canal less hospitable to bacteria/fungus and the alcohol dries the ear.
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    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Atlanta, GA

    Re: Swimmer's ear -- treatment and prevention

    Ear plugs! I bought the rubber type I wore as a child on Amazon and also saw several different types suitable for swimming at Target yesterday.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    DFW, TX

    Re: Swimmer's ear -- treatment and prevention

    I swim daily also. I stick a little paper towel or TP in there, turn my head and shake my ear until it quits sloshing Then I hold my nose and pop my ears to open up the eustachian tubes quite a few times to keep everything open, equalized and airflow. I had tube issues when I was a kid and until I started routinely popping my ears I had a fair amount of ear discomfort. I always thought it was bad to pop your ears but quite the opposite, it is good for them if you have trouble.
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    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Sydney, Australia

    Re: Swimmer's ear -- treatment and prevention

    I used to do a fair bit of Scuba Diving and suffered on and off with this, I mix up a solution of 50/50 Rubbing Alcohol (IPA) and Hydrogen Peroxide in one of those pipette bottle things, drop in a few drops in each ear after getting out. Its one of those things that easier to prevent than cure but often I'd forget until it hurt...
    In my case it was from the bacteria/algae/nasties etc in the ocean, I guess you wouldn't have this issue in the pool...
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    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    San Rafael, CA USA

    Re: Swimmer's ear -- treatment and prevention

    The bacteria aren't coming from the pool. They are already in your ear. The issue is when the ear gets wet then those bacteria can grow enough, penetrate the skin, and trigger an immune response and you feel pain from that. See what the Mayo Clinic says about swimmer's ear. On their prevention page they state the following:

    At-home preventive treatment. If you know you don't have a punctured eardrum, you can use homemade preventive eardrops before and after swimming. A mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 1 part rubbing alcohol may help promote drying and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi that can cause swimmer's ear. Pour 1 teaspoon (about 5 milliliters) of the solution into each ear and let it drain back out. Similar over-the-counter solutions may be available at your drugstore.
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    PAGirl's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Central PA

    Re: Swimmer's ear -- treatment and prevention

    I noticed my son seems to get swimmer's ear when he swims then goes to bed shortly after, as the water just lays there. Not positive that's what's happening, just a guess.
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