I am currently in my pediatric rotation of my FNP clinical and man do I see A LOT of stinking Swimmer’s Ear, a.k.a External otitis. Tis the season (yay summer) but I have also learned that most people I see are not using preventative measure for their kiddos like ear drops.
Good News, I am going to teach you how to make your own cheap and easy Swimmer’s Ear Drops with just 2 ingredients
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (2014), you can do the following to make you own preventative ear drips:
1) rubbing alcohol
Directions: mix equal portions (50/50) together to fit into a container of your choice
Please note: Before using any drops in the ear, it is important to be certain you or your child does not have a perforated eardrum!! Also these drops only help prevent and DO NOT TREAT an existing swimmer’s ear.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (2014), the ear drops should be administered as followed:
- Drops are more easily administered if done by someone other than the patient.
- The patient should lie down with the affected ear facing upwards.
- Drops should be placed in the ear until the ear is full.
- After drops are administered, the patient should remain lying down for a few minutes so the drops can be absorbed.
How Swimmer’s Ear occurs: ” Breakdown of the skin-cerumen barrier is the first step in the pathogenesis of external otitis. Inflammation and edema of the skin then leads to pruritus (itching) and obstruction. The pruritus prompts scratching that may create further injury. This sequence of events alters the quality and amount of cerumen (ear wax) produced, impairs epithelial migration, and increases the pH of the ear canal. The resulting dark, warm, alkaline, moist ear canal becomes an ideal breeding ground for numerous organisms” (Goguen, 2014, p.1).
Most common S/S of Swimmer’s ear:
“Itching inside the ear and pain that gets worse when you tug on the auricle (outer ear).Other signs and symptoms may include any of the following:
- Sensation that the ear is blocked or full
- Decreased hearing
- Intense pain that may spread to the neck, face, or side of the head
- Swollen lymph nodes around the ear or in the upper neck. Redness and swelling of the skin around the ear” (Swimmer’s Ear, 2014, p.1).
Why this d.i.y concoction works: the rubbing alcohol helps dry up any trapped moisture while the vinegar helps restore the ear’s natural pH so nasty bacteria are less likely to grow!
Tips on How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear if you Swim Frequently
- Shake your ears dry after swimming
- Blow dry your ears on a low setting, holding the dryer 12 inches away.
- Use ear drops after swimming to prevent ear infections; these are available OTC at most pharmacies OR just d.i.y and make your own =)
- Consider wearing ear plugs made for swimming (Goguen, 2014, p.1).
Goguen, L. (2014). External otitis: pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis. UpToDate. Retrieved from http://www.uptodate.com.manowar.tamucc.edu/contents/external-otitis-pathogenesis-clinical-features-and-diagnosis?source=search_result&search=swimmer%27s+ear&selectedTitle=1~66
Goguen, L. (2014). Patient information: external otitis (including swimmer’s ear) (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. Retrieved from http://www.uptodate.com.manowar.tamucc.edu/contents/external-otitis-including-swimmers-ear-beyond-the-basics?source=search_result&search=swimmer%27s+ear&selectedTitle=1~66
Swimmer’s Ear. (2014). American Academy of Otolaryngology. Retrieved from http://www.entnet.org/content/swimmers-ear