>>1: What is swimmers ear and how do you get it? How can I avoid getting it?
>_The Physician and Sportsmedicine_ had a feature article on swimmers
>ear close to a year ago. You might want to check your local library
>for a copy.
I checked on this article--it is in the July, 1991 issue and is called
"Swimmer's Ear: Getting Patients Back in the Water", by Patrice Heinz
The article includes the following (attributed to Mark Renneker, MD,
assistant clinical professor of Family and Community Medicine at the
University of California in San Francisco: "Many competitive swimmers
who frequently suffer swimmer's ear treat themselves continously with
over-the-counter eardrops. But some of these products, such as 2%
boric acid, may further de*** the ear canal".
The article also includes a sidebar by the author "Tips to Prevent
Swimmer's Ear", reproduced below without permission:
"An ounce of prevention can go a long way toward breaking the cycle of
ear infections that can plague swimmers or water-sports enthusiasts.
Most strategies emphasize keeping the ear as dry as possible. To help
patients accomplish this, share these tips:
"* Get the water out of the ears after swimming. Tilt the head and
jump vigorously or gently dry the outer ear with a towel; do not rub.
A hair dryer at its lowest setting held several inches from the ear
also can effectively do the job without trauma.
"* Avoid touching or scratching the ear. This increases exposure of
bacteria to an ear c***that may already be irritated and inflamed.
"* Put a dropperful of a drying agent in the ear at the end of each
swimming session. In most cases, ask you physician to recommend an
"* Learn from your physician how to remove impacted debris with a high
velocity stream of water and hydrogen peroxide mixed in equal parts. A
20-cc syringe will provide sufficient flow. This is particularly
helpful for surfers and other frequent ocean swimmers. Similarly,
mothers can flush out debris in the ears of young, beach-going
children by using warm water and a store-bought ear syringe.
"* Wear tight-fitting swim caps and wet suit hoods, especially if you
surf or sailboard. They may not keep water out of the ear, but can
prevent or slow the formation of exostoses (bony growths) by warming
the ears and providing protection from the wind.
"* Avoid using standard was-type earplugs--they're not airtight and
may damage the c***lining if inserted too firmly. Newer silicone
earplugs provide better protection. OtoPlugs (Oto-Med, Inc, lake
Havasu City, AZ) and Doc's Proplugs (International Aquatic Trades,
Inc, Santa Cruz, CA), keep water out with little hearing reduction.
"* Plan ahead to avoid problems. Take extra precautions when traveling
to an area of high ambient temperature and humidity, since this can
predispose a swimmer to infection. Changing pools can often bring on
new problems, too, says William C. McMaster, an Orange, California
orthopedic surgeon who works with the US National Swim Team. 'The last
thing a swimmer wants to do is wind up with a hot ear just before a
Brian Hanafee Advanced Decision Systems
(415) 960-7300 Mountain View, CA 94043-1230