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Swimmer’s ear
- surprising ways it happens

 
  
 

You know that feeling when you tip your head and you can hear the water sloshing around inside?

 

Most of the time it finds its own way out, sometimes with a bit of tilting, jumping and jiggling to help it along. But there are times the water gets trapped in your ear canal, and that’s when the trouble starts - the bacteria that live on your skin get inside your ear, and can cause irritation, inflammation or infection.

 

 
 

 

While water-logged ears are common, they are not something to be taken lightly: ear infections can be miserable and, if left untreated, can spread to bone and cartilage or even your brain.

 

 

Preventing Swimmer’s Ear:

 

  • Know it’s not just swimming that causes it - anything that has water or humidity near your ear can do the trick..
  • Avoid earplugs - they keep the water out, but they can also irritate the ear canal. Try a swim-cap over your ears.
  • Also avoid in-ear headphones if you’re prone to Swimmer’s Ear.
  • Dry your ears on the outside, tip to one side to let water drain naturally.
  • Use a shower cap to keep your ears dry while showering.
  • Your mother was right - don’t put anything bigger than your elbow in your ear.
  • Use a hairdryer on a very low setting, at least a foot away from your head, to gently dry your ears. 
  • Don’t swim in dirty water.
  • Protect your ears from irritants like hairspray and dyes - cotton balls work well.
  • If you’ve had a recent ear infection, talk to your doctor before you swim.

 

 

 
   
 

 
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