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erezn
December 19th, 2011, 06:39 AM
I need an advice from you swimmers,
My left ear started to ache 10 days ago. Since I had to go on a trip for few days, I decided not to take care of it assuming it would heal by itself. Well, it didn't. The doctor prescribed me with antibiotics. Both pills and ear drops for a week and recommended to avoid swimming. A friend of mine who also swims had a similar problem a while ago but hos doctor said that swimming would not worsen the inflammation.
Do you think that swimming with the inflammation would be a good idea? Should I try and use ear plugs for a while?

swimshark
December 19th, 2011, 07:22 AM
I have always been told no swimming for a week with an ear infection. The water can get in and cause it to not heal or get worse.

Syd
December 19th, 2011, 08:21 AM
I wouldn't advise you to put earplugs into an infected ear. Apart from anything else, it is going to be painful because of the swelling caused by the infection.

If it is that bad that the doctor prescribed antibiotics, I would recommend that you stay out of the water until it heals. It could get worse and then you would be out of the water for longer. It is really no big deal taking a break for a few days. Take the opportunity to work on your dry-land.

Redbird Alum
December 19th, 2011, 11:45 AM
Hearing is one of the five big ones. I would follow your Doctor's advice on this. No sense risking it.

nkfrench
December 19th, 2011, 12:26 PM
Pick a time when the pool won't be available anyhow since we're so close to the holidays. :)

Have a few kickboard days

Cross-train

One of my friends had ear damage, tubes put in, etc. She was told no more swimming and no more showers, ever. !!

erezn
December 19th, 2011, 02:13 PM
Pick a time when the pool won't be available anyhow since we're so close to the holidays. :)

Have a few kickboard days

Cross-train

One of my friends had ear damage, tubes put in, etc. She was told no more swimming and no more showers, ever. !!

No more showers??!!
My kids would love that...
Thank you guys, I guess I'll take few days off.

ande
December 19th, 2011, 03:49 PM
seems like overkill to me with all the pills & drops
usually drops work, the prescribed ones


one time in NYC I had horrible ear ache, no ear meds (& no doc)
(which is now in my swim bag)

so I went to a drug store & got Similasan Homeopathic Ear Drops
(over the counter) used em &

IT WORKED!

my ear felt better the very next day. I was extremely surprised and quite relieved
What is Homeopathy (http://www.similasanusa.com/about-homeopathy)

Sojerz
December 19th, 2011, 04:15 PM
This is a common problem especially for younger swimmers with smaller ear canals who are in the water all day long. You should not swim with "swimmers ear" and try to keep any forerign objects out of your ear (ipod ear buds, etc.) while healing. The moisture left in your ear from swimming creates an environement for bacteria (or other microbes) to grow and may also prevent the drying and natural sloughing of wax from the ear, which compounds the problem.

When I was a kid, my mom used peroxide about once a week in each ear to bubble up the wax buidlup, but i'm not sure if this is still recommended or even necessay especially in an average adult. Because peroxide breaks down to water, don't use it while you have an ear infection, and make sure you get your ears dry afterwards too (see vinegar and alcohol below). There may be better wax removal products for this on the market today that could be used if you have a problem with wax buidling up.

To help dry your ears out after swimming you can buy over-the-counter ear drops, or make up your own from 50% white vinegar and and 50% rubbing alcohol. Put this in with an eye dropper and then dump it out of your ear. You will feel the alcohol evaporate, removing moisture, and somewhat disinfecting your ear canal too. I used this for my kids and myself, when needed. In most adults with bigger ear canals this would be enough to get the ears dry. At least for me, swimming in lakes, ocean, or poorly disinfected pool has a greater tendency to bring on the problem. A good web site:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/swimmers-ear/DS00473/DSECTION=prevention

Celestial
December 20th, 2011, 08:55 PM
Doncha think that the oral antibiotics are because there is most likely a middle ear infection, as well as ear canal (swimmers ear) inflammation? We don't prescribe antibiotics for simple swimmers ear. Why did you pay the doctor for his advice if you don't plan on following it?

taruky
December 21st, 2011, 09:37 PM
Doncha think that the oral antibiotics are because there is most likely a middle ear infection, as well as ear canal (swimmers ear) inflammation? We don't prescribe antibiotics for simple swimmers ear. Why did you pay the doctor for his advice if you don't plan on following it?
Why would he have both a swimmer's ear (otitis externa) and a middle ear infection unless the TM ruptured and the canal subsequently became inflamed? And to be honest, even in those cases, I tend to only prescribe topical antibiotics because they get into the middle ear through the hole.

As for your comment 'we don't prescribe antibiotics for swimmers ear"; simply go to your local urgent care and there is a 90% chance you will leave there with a prescription for an oral antibiotic whether you need it or not. They can code higher by doing so. I can't tell you how many times I get the next-day report of some kid who goes there with a complaint of cough and runny nose, gets a rapid strep test which is negative, and is put on antibiotics anyways. They don't even send a backup throat culture. It's like "why the hell did you run the rapid strep test with no sore throat, and then why are you giving antibiotics anyways even though the rapid strep test is negative?"

The answer to the original question is this; if your ear infection is a swimmer's ear (inflammation of the skin in your ear canal), you should not swim for a week or so. Macerating the area makes it fertile ground for bacteria and the infection may get worse. If you have a middle ear infection (this area is shielded from the outside water by the ear drum) you can swim to your heart's content, you won't make it worse. If you have a middle ear infection that burst through the ear drum and drained into the canal, causing inflammation there too, you shouldn't swim fir a while also. Here's how you can usually tell if your eardrum ruptured. You felt ear pain at one point and suddenly the pain was relieved when the bulging eardrum ruptured and pus drained out.

lapswimmr
December 22nd, 2011, 09:09 PM
Double capping can keep water from the ears, but you need to be aware if any seepage occurs. A silicon swim cap pulled low over the ears with a second cap over can keep water out that any leak can be useually detected. Ear plugs can help but you have to be able to detect any water leakage. With ear plugs leakage gets into the ear canal and stays there untill you pull the plugs out. With caps only to keep out water, any leakage can hopefully be felt and if it occurs surface at once and pull the cap out away from the ear and let out the water. Iffy..Yes ...Always go over any ideas to keep ears dry when swimming for medical reasons with your doctor first and listen to your doctors advice. Better to give up a couple of weeks swimming then risking lifetime damage.
If you have to swim after talking to your doctor see (scroll down to the green cap)

http://www.reocities.com/lapswimr/scg.html and show them the page and get their Ok before you swim.