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Home Discussions Public Discussions Preventing ear infection Reply To: Preventing ear infection

  • brian

    October 29, 2021 at 3:41 am

    As a health care provider I may be able to provide some perspective that could be of use.

    “Swimmers ear” can also be called “surfer’s ear” and it can be called otitis externa. It is usually a bacterial infection (less commonly a fungal one) that occurs only in some unlucky people. They generally do not form much ear wax or engage in activities that wash or abrade the wax away. One should never think they are doing themselves a favor by “washing” their ears or sticking things in their ears to try to “clean” their ears by removing wax (unless someone has looked into the canal and has told you that you have a solid plug of wax and then wax removal drops are in order). It is true that over production of ear wax (cerumen) can be a problem for some people, however, trying to remove or prevent its formation is a more common problem. Exposure to a lot of water from flushing the ears or swimming and surfing etc can, in some people who don’t have a protective hydrophobic waxy seal , result in inflammation and secondary infection on the skin that lines the ear canal. This canal is highly sensitive with lots of nerve innervation and so this external ear infection/inflammation can be rather painful and always irritating.

    Suggestions as to how to prevent this , if you have this problem, would be wearing plugs that fit comfortably or drying the ear after getting out of the water with rubbing alcohol based drops or, more improbably, a hair dryer.

    <font face=”inherit”>If and when someone gets inflammation/infection manifesting as an external ear infection of the canal then in the US we prescribe drops </font>that<font face=”inherit”> are a combination of antibiotic and steroid </font>anti-inflammatory. In the US this is by prescription only. They are very safe because they are topical.