Infection Fears: Water in Your Ears

Infection Fears: Water in Your Ears
When it comes to water safety, there is more to worry about than just drowning. For example, ear infections can be quite painful. Today, let’s take a closer look at some of the damage having water in your ears can cause… and how to get that water out!

Why Worry About Water in Your Ears?

Everyone loves taking a dip, but when you submerge your head in water, it can lead to water in your ears. That might not seem like a big deal, and often it isn’t, but there is still a chance of infection. Put simply, even if the water seems crystal clear, it could still be contaminated. We’ve written about the risks of this in our blogs about not drinking sea water and crypto infections.

In short, you never quite know what might be lurking in the water where you are swimming. Getting contaminated water in your ears can lead to swimmer’s ear. According to the Mayo Clinic, swimmer's ear is also called otitis externa. This condition is an extremely common infection of the outer ear area.

Besides getting swimmer’s ear from a dirty pool or pond, you can be infected just by getting water in your ear during a shower or bath. Unfortunately, getting water trapped in your ears can quickly turn your body into a breeding ground for bacteria or fungi.

The best way to avoid any of these consequences is to get that water out of your ears as quickly as possible.

How to Get Trapped Water Out of Your Ears

Once you realize you have water in your ears, you’ll want to get it out. Here are some tried and true methods:

Take it Easy

Gently dry off when you exit the water. Dab your ears dry with a soft towel or cloth. The key word here is “gentle.” Your ear canals are more sensitive than you may realize, so a bit of care goes a long way.

Contrary to common practice, don’t use something like cotton swabs. While these may seem like an obvious solution, they can pack ear wax in tighter and cause worse irritation. Keep it gentle and continue to pat the ear dry from the outside.

Pull Your Ear Lobes

Here is a neat trick to try: pull your ear lobes. Again, do it gently! Force will not be your friend here. A gentle tug on each lobe while you tilt your head from side to side should help remove excess water. Simply let gravity do the work.

Bring Out the Big Guns

Next, consider using a hair dryer. Just be sure to use the lowest setting. Remember, you are looking to keep things gentle and non-invasive. A mild, focused stream of heat can help to dry out your sensitive ear canals.

Don’t Forget Ear Drops

Finally, over-the-counter ear drops can work wonders when you have water in your ears. Apply the drops to your ears, let it sit for a moment, and then tilt your head. Like tugging at your lobes, the gravity should hopefully let the drops and excess water leak out of your troubled ears.

Seek Medical Attention if the Trouble Continues

In the end, these are all great tips, but if the problem persists, it may be time to speak with a medical professional. A doctor will know how to handle an infection and can give you personalized advice for your unique situation. As always, we recommend that you defer to the advice of a licensed professional.

Good luck in the water and keep that water out of your ear canal!