July is here and summer is in full swing and swimming is a must! As summer begins we start to see a lot of kids with ear trouble. Swimmer’s ear is the common name for an infection/irritation of the external ear canal due to bacteria in the pool, river or lake we’ve been swimming in. Sometimes the irritation is simply due to the dryness that occurs to the sensitive skin of the ear canal. Ever notice how the skin on your legs can get dry after a dip in a chlorinated pool? The same thing can happen to the delicate skin of our inner ears. Swimmer’s ear can range from being a slightly uncomfortable itch to a downright painful problem for our kids and ourselves. Prevention really is worth a pound of cure on this ailment. A simple and effective way to prevent a severe external ear infection is cleanse/dry the ears with a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. I tested this on Julien (4yro) thinking that he’d be the most sensitive in our household. Julien had water trapped in his ear canal from swimming and I knew this concoction can help dry ears as well. He was so happy and thankful that I tried it on myself and it burned me like crazy! Turns out I have the most sensitive ears in our family. I was running around the house holding my ears as he stared at me. Further proof that we are all unique. For me and the other ear sensitive folks out there I like to cleanse my ears with peroxide alone and have gotten good results. The only way you’ll know what works for you and yours is to experiment.
The way that you get the drops into the ear is to dip a clean Q-tip in your chosen cleansing drying agent and then apply each end to your respective ear canals once. As the bubbling or the burning in my case subsides I recommend that a small amount of virgin pressed coconut oil (antiviral/antibacterial) be applied the same way to another clean Q-tip and the canals be moisturized. Remember the dry legs after swimming? Your ear canals can be as well. Especially after applying a drying agent.
Ideally this regimen would be performed after each time you go swimming. Who has time for that right? For kids that have chronic issues with swimmer’s ear, it’s better in the long run to make time. Since we don’t have any chronic ear issues this season, we simply use this procedure for trapped water sensation. Works like a charm! For myself I’ve noticed there is a preliminary ear canal itch that is an early indicator that my ears are in danger. If I use the mix even once a day for 1-2 days as soon as I notice the itch I’ve been able to stave off bigger infections. And with the coconut oil added to the regimen I was actually able to treat a pretty nasty river external ear infection in myself. If none of this is helping go to the pediatrician or your doctor. Or if you know me personally come over and we can take a look together! Happy swimming and happy 4th of July.
***Update*** We recently had an impressive swimmer’s ear at our house and successfully treated it with apple cider vinegar mixed in a 1:1 ratio with warm water. I used a 5mL medicine syringe and then just applied 3-4 drops to ear ear with a 1 minute wait after drops were applied. Then using the blow dryer on the COOL setting dried ears completely. In 24hrs we had mild improvement. By 48hrs we had significant improvement in both pain and appearance of the ear canal! Just another DYI healing approach.