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I have swimmers ear repeatedly. What alternative treatments are available?

By Anonymous July 13, 2010 - 10:07pm
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Loved Dr. O 'Leary's video on swimmers ear but thought I was going to learn something about using white vinegar. I want an alternative treatment please. I use the ear wax when I swim and IM still getting swimmers ear. Then, I get an antibiotic ear drop and it clears up ..... Then it comes back again. I'm frustrated because I run out of the antibiotic drops and back to the doctor I go ... To get more ear drops! Vicious cycle.
Thanks so much for the help. Love the 24 hour promise!

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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Anon - Thanks for your comments and welcome. Prescription ear drops containing infection-fighting medications and inflammation reducers, like antibiotics and corticosteroids, are the usual treatment for swimmer's ear, which is otitis externa. Sometimes, antibiotic or antifungal pills are prescribed. With treatment, symptoms of otitis externa usually decrease in severity within 24 hours to three days. If the ear canal is very swollen, it may not allow the ear drops to get in. A small sponge, called a wick, may be inserted in the ear canal to absorb the drops. It is usually removed after 24-48 hours.

Your doctor may also recommend:
* Keep the ear dry for 7 to 10 days.
* Take baths instead of showers.
* Avoid swimming.
* Do not rub or scratch the ear or inside the ear canal.

There are multiple home remedies for this described in various online forums. I'm not familiar with them, and don't know if they work or not.
Here are some of them:
- Garlic oil to reduce swelling. Peel and grate cloves, add olive oil to cover, leave overnight, strain in the morning, put in dropper bottle and use three drops as treatment.
- Mix together a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar and some rubbing alcohol in a dropper bottle. Mix well, use two drops.
- The juice of holy basil leaves is put in the ear to treat a ear infection.
- Ginger juice soaked in a cotton ball and kept inside the ear.
- Small garlic pieces can be mixed with honey and ingested with water or tea. Alternatively, garlic oil can be inserted in the ears.
- Put a cotton ball soaked in onion juice in the infected ear
- Lemon balm can be applied gently in case of a ear infection. Since lemon has antiseptic properties it will promote healing.
- Insert a few drops of warm olive or castor oil in the infected ear. Wear a ear plug and lie down on the other side so that the oil can flow inwards.

Good luck, and let us know if you try any of these and they help. Long term use of antibiotics of any type isn't good for us, and you're smart to seek alternatives.

Take care,

July 14, 2010 - 10:27am
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