Swimmer's Ear Prevention Tips
DO keep your ears as dry as possible.
- Use a bathing cap, ear plugs, or custom-fitted swim molds when swimming to keep water out of your ears.
DO dry your ears thoroughly after swimming or showering.
- Use a towel to dry your ears well.
- Tilt your head to hold each ear facing down to allow water to escape the ear canal.
- Pull your earlobe in different directions while your ear is faced down to help water drain out.
- If you still have water in your ears, consider using a hair dryer to move air within the ear canal.
- Be sure the hair dryer is on the lowest heat and speed/fan setting.
- Hold the hair dryer several inches from your ear.
DON'T put objects in your ear canal (including cotton-tip swabs, pencils, paperclips, or fingers).
DON'T try to remove ear wax. Ear wax helps protect your ear canal from infection.
- If you think your ear canal is blocked by ear wax, consult your health care provider rather than trying to remove it yourself.
CONSULT your health care provider about using commercial, alcohol-based ear drops or a 1:1 mixture of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar after swimming.
- Drops should not be used by persons with ear tubes, damaged ear drums, outer ear infection, or ear drainage (pus or liquid coming from the ear).
CONSULT your healthcare provider if your ears are itchy, flaky, swollen, or painful, or if you have drainage from your ears.
ASK your pool/hot tub operator if disinfectant and pH levels are checked at least twice per day -hot tubs and pools with proper disinfectant and pH levels are less likely to spread germs.
USE pool test strips to check the pool or hot tub yourself for adequate disinfectant and pH levels.
SOURCE: CDC.gov. "Swimmer's Ear" (Otitis Externa) Prevention.