I am a lifelong swimmer. Although the competitive swim team days are over, I still lap swim several miles per week, year-round, and enjoy recreational water activities.
Especially in my teens, and in most of my adult years, I would get 1-to-3 ear infections per year. The majority of my ear infections were Swimmer’s Ear, aka… Otitis Externa.
Even though ear infections are beyond painful, I will never give up my love for swimming. Over time, I built up a drug resistance to almost every medication, except for my last resort – Cipro HC otic. My ear infections would get so bad that if I called my ENT’s office, he would fit me into his schedule the same day. I had a history of ear infections becoming chronic and “spreading like wildfire,” within 24 hours.
If you are prone to repeat ear infections, then maybe you’ve heard to dry your ears out with a hair dryer right after swimming or taking a shower. Or… to use hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, or a drying OTC product after getting out of the water. As it turns out, drying your ears too much can also lead to ear infections.
A Preventive Alternative… My “miracle home remedy” for preventing ear infections: Mineral Oil Ear Drops.
Why Mineral Oil Works So Well:
Mineral oil simply lubricates and protects the ears so no bacteria will multiply and spread inside any dry, flakey skin cracks. This ENT tip has kept me out of his office for over 6 years!
Where to Find Mineral Oil:
This inexpensive home remedy, of all places, is in the “stomach remedy” aisle at your local grocery store or pharmacy. Mineral Oil costs about $4.00 for a 16 ounce bottle and lasts 6+ months if used regularly.
Also buy a $4.00 ear dropper medicine bottle from the pharmacy then fill it with mineral oil.
How to Use It:
1. Use just a few drops in each ear before swimming or taking a shower.
2. Tilt your head to one side, and apply the mineral oil drops inside your ear. Then, alternate.
(You did this right if you feel the “cool” lubrication sensation. Don’t worry about applying too much mineral oil because it does come out on its own gradually.)
1. If swimming, stretch the swim cap over both ears right after applying the mineral oil drops.
2. If taking a shower or bath, use ear plugs right after applying the mineral oil drops.
3. Once out of the water, clean out the mineral oil in your ears. I simply wipe out any residue with a clean tissue, and also gently clean my ears out with hydrogen peroxide a few times per month at home.
4. Thoroughly wash out the ear dropper and bottle, and refill with fresh mineral oil regularly.
Applying mineral oil ear drops before swimming is now a ritual. I hope this simple, preventive home remedy keeps me permanently out of my ENT’s office.
As a preventive measure for my child, I put mineral oil drops in his ears, too, before we swim in a pool, lake, or ocean.