Many cases of otitis externa may be prevented by decreasing the opportunity for water or moisture to enter the ear canal by taking the following measures.
- Carefully dry the ears after swimming or bathing
- Shake out excess water in the ear.
- Hold a hair drier on a low heat setting at least 12 inches from the ear
- Wear earplugs while swimming.
Otitis externa can also be caused by putting objects into the ear canal.
- Do not use objects to clean the ear (for example, paper clips, bobby pins, or fingernails) that may tear the skin. Most people have ears that are self-cleansing, and cleaning with a cotton-tipped swab is unnecessary and potentially harmful. People who have excess wax buildup should have it removed by a health care professional who can remove the debris under direct vision using an otoscope or with ear irrigation.
- Ocassionaly, a foreign object such as an insect can cause inflammation and pain, and will need to be removed by a health care professional.
- Minimize exposure of infants and children to others with colds or upper respiratory infections. This may require altering day care visit patterns.
- Avoid bottle feeding in the supine (lying) position.
- Babies who are breastfed for the first 6 months have a decreased risk of developing ear infections.
- Eliminate pacifier use after 6 months of age.
- Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Keep immunizations current, including those for influenza.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/23/2015
Must Read Articles Related to Earache
Antibiotics are prescribed to individuals to cure disease by killing bacteria. There are over 100 antibiotics. The main classes of antibiotics include penicilli...learn more >>
The cold is the most commonly occurring illness in the entire world, with more than 1 billion colds per year reported in the United States alone. Symptoms and s...learn more >>
Foreign Body, Ear
Getting an object stuck in the ear is a relatively common problem, especially in toddlers. The vast majority of items are lodged in the ear canal, which is the ...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Earache: