Summer is in full swing already and the beaches and pools beckon you to throw on a swimsuit and dive in.
Diving into a refreshing pool is one of the best things about cooling off in the summer heat, but do you know what isn’t one of the best things? Getting an ear infection, or more specifically, swimmers ear!
What is Swimmers Ear?
Swimmers ear is a bacterial infection in the outer ear caused by swimming or prolonged exposure to water.
The water gets trapped inside the ear which makes the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and replicate. Water from pools, lakes, streams, and other sources can harbor these types of bacteria.
While it can be difficult to detect whether or not you have an inner or outer infection at first, visible redness, swelling, and itching in and around the ear can help you determine which type of infection is present. Also, if the afflicted person was recently swimming, it’s probably a good indication that they have swimmers ear!
Some Common Facts About Swimmers Ear
• Excessive water exposure is the primary cause of swimmers ear
• External otitis (aka swimmers ear) is usually as bacterial skin infection of the outer ear canal.
• Makes hearing difficult
• Pain when pressure is applied to the outer ear (such as while laying down)
• Proper treatment insists on the avoidance of water exposure
• Properly caring for the ears can often prevent swimmers ear
• Swimmers ear can be acute or chronic in nature
• Symptoms include swelling, drainage, pain, itchiness, and a sense of fullness in the ear that is visible in/around the ear
Get Rid of Swimmers Ear Naturally
There are a few ways to get rid of swimmers ear naturally. The nice thing about these swimmers ear remedies is that they’re super easy to do and they’re effective!
I have personally used these methods to relieve a bad ear infection I got while boogie boarding last year. The waves were huge and forceful enough to shoot water into my inner ear. Try as I might, the water inside wouldn’t budge, so of course, I ended up with a rather uncomfortable case of swimmers ear.
The Best Remedies to get Rid of Swimmers Ear Naturally
• Alcohol and Vinegar
This remedy is really effective at drawing out and drying up the water that may be stuck in the ear.
To use this remedy simply mix 1 tsp of alcohol like vodka or rubbing alcohol with 1 tsp of white vinegar. Do not use RAW apple cider vinegar. You need a vinegar that is completely filtered without a “mother” or debris present. Do avoid any issues, use white vinegar for this remedy.
Carefully pour 1 tsp of the alcohol and vinegar mixture into each ear, followed by a cotton ball to hold it in for at least 5 minutes. Do this while laying with your ear facing upward.
The alcohol will help dry up the water in the ear while the vinegar goes to work killing the bacteria.
If you are someone who is prone to getting swimmers ear, you may want to use this solution after swimming or use special swimmers ear plugs to prevent water from entering the ear.
Repeat 2-3 times per day as needed.
• Garlic Oil and Heat
Chopping a few fresh cloves of garlic and then simmering them in a small amount of olive oil is a handy remedy for all sorts of ear infections. The warm oil helps drain the water while effectively killing off bacteria and soothing pain.
To make it, add 2 cloves of fresh garlic to 1/4 cup of olive oil. Gently simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Strain the oil into a small container or dropper bottle and let cool a bit. You do not want to put scalding oil in your ear!
Once the oil is comfortably cool, put a few drops into the affected ear followed by a cotton ball. Hold a heating pad or hot water bottle over the ear for 15 minutes. Make sure the ear you are treating is facing downward to help drain it.
The heat will help soothe pain and the garlic will help fight the bacteria. Repeat 2-3 times per day as needed.
• Turmeric Oil
This remedy can be made in the same way as the garlic oil except replace the fresh garlic with fresh turmeric instead. You CAN use turmeric powder but you would need to completely strain out the powder before using it in the ear. You can do this by straining the oil through a piece of cloth, just be aware that turmeric stains everything yellow!
Turmeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory that helps ease the pain and discomfort associated with swimmers ear.
Use it the same way as the garlic oil.
• Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver , a liquid filled with suspended particles of silver, is a remarkably strong anti-bacterial. It does this effectively by adhering to the cell walls of bacteria, smothering them and inhibiting their ability to produce enzymes.
Using colloidal silver for swimmers ear is probably the easiest remedy out there. It’s already ready to go!
To use it, simply add 2 drops of colloidal silver to the affected ear. Lay with that ear facing upward for 5 minutes, then gently turn the head to the side while pressing a towel to the ear to drain.
Repeat 1-2 times per day as needed.
• Essential Oils
Is there anything essential oils can’t do?
Helichrysum essential oil lessens inflammation and pain while tea tree oil kills bacteria and fungus. The combo together is perfect for treating swimmers ear naturally.
Next, dip a cotton ball into the mixture and place the cotton ball gently into the outer ear. You can hold it in place with a piece of tape if needed. I recommend keeping the cotton ball in place throughout the day or while you sleep at night.
Repeat for a few days until symptoms ease.
When to Seek a Professional Regarding Swimmers Ear
Even trying to get rid of swimmers ear naturally doesn’t always work. If the infection and discomfort gets worse, it is best to seek out professional help. Ear infections of any kind can be quite serious, so it is important that you pay close attention during home treatment.
I have tried these methods without incident, but that doesn’t mean they will always work for others.
Here is a great video that explains everything you need to know about swimmers ear!
For more on ear ailments, check out the articles below: