The second worst thing to happen while you’re on vacation next to not sleeping well is to get an ear infection. Especially when you get caught with swimmer’s ear.
The organisms that cause ear infections like swimmers ear and others like it love dark, warm, moist places, and your ears, unfortunately, are the perfect vacation spot for these types of visitors. In the case of swimmers ear, humidity and heat can aggravate swelling in the layer of skin inside your ears. Add to that any additional water from swimming and in some cases the irritation of pool chemicals or even polluted water from natural swimming and diving areas, and the outer ear canal can get even softer and more prone to infection.
However, swimmer’s ear isn’t only for swimmers. Because swimmer’s ear is caused by water trapped in the outer structures of the ear, any water based activity can lead you in that direction. Some people even get swimmer’s ear from baths or showers.
Common symptoms of swimmer’s ear can include:
- mild to moderate pain
- ear fullness
- decreased hearing
- swollen lymph nodes
- ear drainage
Solution for Swimmer’s Ear : Blow Drying
With some severe infections, antibiotic drops may be necessary to treat swimmer’s ear. However, mildly acidic solutions such as white vinegar (diluted with an equal part of water) can be highly effective for early infections. Of course, the best treatment for swimmer’s ear is to keep your ears free of moisture during and after water activities. But using Q-tips even to just dry the outer ear canal is NOT recommended. They have a tendency to pack the ear wax deeper into the ear canal, or worse, remove the protective layer of earwax in the ear canal. This can not only irritate the thin skin around the ear canal, but make the ear a more habitable place for bacteria to congregate. As such, the safest way to dry your ears is, believe it or not, with a hair dryer.
If you do NOT have a perforated eardrum, rubbing alcohol or a 50:50 mixture of alcohol and white vinegar used as ear drops will evaporate excess water and keep your ears dry.