Health & Wellness

Prevention Tips to Avoid Swimmer’s Ear


Swimmers Ear Living in Charleston, SC with a backyard pool and two busy girls, age 6 and 9, means we are in the water most summer days. So it came as no surprise when my 9-year-old started saying her ear hurt. I did the usual and used over-the-counter swimmer’s ear drops. However, a week later she was still complaining.

When I picked her up from school yesterday she said, “Mommy it hurts when I smile,” (yep this comment broke my heart). So we headed to the pediatrician and sure enough we have our first swimmer’s ear of the season along with an inner ear infection. She ended up getting an antibiotic, but like most moms I would prefer to reduce her need for these if possible.

Dr. Shawinski of Seacoast Pediatrics gave me some great prevention tips so we can avoid antibiotics for swimmer’s ear in the future. I’m going to try all of these and hope for no repeat visits this summer!

Drop it in

Do it yourself ear drops – mix 1 part white vinegar to 1 part rubbing alcohol. This helps promote drying and prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi that can cause swimmer’s ear. Use 2-4 drops in each ear after getting out of the water.

Dry it out 

Each night before bed use a hairdryer on a medium setting and blow warm air into each ear for 30 seconds. Like the tip above the drying helps prevent swimmer’s ear.

Manage the pain 

If your little one does get swimmer’s ear here’s an easy tip to help with pain management – make a home heating pad.  Simply, take a big sock and put in approximately 1 cup of dry rice, then heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Tie the sock and this little heating pad can easily be shaped to the area behind the ear that often gets sore from swimmer’s ear.

By Nichole Stevens, Marketing and Communications Director, Roper St. Francis

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