It seems that even simple Summer fun comes with risks, and if you're cooling off in the pool this season, you're at risk for swimmer's ear. When your ear is exposed to excess moisture, whether from swimming or bathing, water can become trapped in your ear canal.
The delicate skin inside your ear can then become soggy and begin to break down. When this happens, water dilutes the acidity of the ear canal, allowing bacteria or fungi to penetrate the skin, causing a painful infection. And according to otolaryngologist Dr. Barbara Schultz, it can happen to anyone. Fortunately, swimmer's ear is easy to prevent.
Learn how to make your own preventive ear drops when you read more.
The infection that causes pain, tenderness, ringing, and itchiness in your ear is often treated with antibiotics, but you can take an inexpensive preventive measure. Schultz recommends putting drops in your ears at the end of your day in the water to restore the healthy pH balance of your ear canal. There are over-the-counter ear drops, costing around $3, or you can make your own simple solution. Mix equal parts white vinegar with rubbing alcohol to use as drops. Don't be tempted to stick a Q-tip in your ear to remove the water, as that can irritate and puncture the skin lining your ear canal and set the stage for an infection.