: >I would very much like to continue swimming, so would welcome any
: >thoughts about
: > 1. What may be the current problem and how to deal with
: > it.
: > 2. Any precautions people have found helpful in preventing the
: > similar ear problem.
: > 3. Ear problems and swimming generally.
: First, if your doctor was unsure as to what the problem was, see an ear-nose-
: throat doctor and be sure it's not an inner- or middle-ear problem. Swimmer's
: ear is just an inflammation of your outer ear canal. The drops do help, but using
: earplugs tends to help more. (Try the ones that are just wax balls. They mold to
: the shape of your ear, so they really fit, and wax will really make a seal and keep
: the water out. Other plugs may not keep water out or may not make a good
: enough seal.)
Research somewhere has shown that the wax balls are the best form of
primary prevention (in term of ear plugs, if you want to go better, then
just dry your ears after each workout).
: Generally, if you can't make it go away, you'll have to stop swimming for a few
: days to let the inflammation go down. Incidentally, if the SwimEar stuff is cleaning
: out your ear canal, *stop* using it. I used to get swimmer's ear all the time, but I
: haven't gotten it in about eight years. My doctor suggested *not* cleaning my ears
: out as long as I was swimming. The natural wax buildup may be gross, but it
: works wonders as a shield against the water for your ear canal. Whenever I'm in
: training and swimming every day, I don't clean my ears out with anything. I
: haven't had the problem since.
Swimmers' ear can be ***. Yes, take a couple of days off (but not
necessarily the "week" that some doctors reccommend, (they're just
trying to protect their reputation, I think :-))). These infections are
usually self limiting (they go away themselves), becasue the bacteria
and other pAthogens that cause them need a moist environment. By
staying out of the water for a couple of days, you allow the ears to dry
out completely (nice ambush for the nasties....:-)).
In any case, you can get antibiotic drops if you already have a
swimmers' ear, (require prescription from doc.), or if you want to
prevent it, see the pharmacist/apothecary/chemist/***tore (dep. on what
part of the world) for some *** drops which aid in prevention.