Swimmers Ear

Last Summer, my son got swimmers ear. I would like to prevent that this year. Is there an essential oil that will help?
Joanne, IL.

Swimmers Ear; Essential Oils

What is Swimmers Ear?
Swimmers ear (or Otits Externia) is like an ear infection, but the infection and inflammation is affecting the ear canal. It occurs when the protective film, that covers the ear canal (lipid layer), is removed. The ear canal becomes inflamed and narrower than normal. This can happen if water remains trapped in the ear canal, the lipid layer will get soggy. Then the bacteria and fungi grow, flourish and infect the ear.

If you had swimmers ear in the past, you are most likely to get it again. It is also more likely if you have a very narrow or hairy ear canal, live in a very humid climate, have impacted earwax, or have had a head injury that also injured your ear.

How can you prevent Swimmers Ear?

-Keep ear canal clean of water, sand, dirt, and debris.
-It often occurs when excess water enters the ear canal, hence the name “swimmers ear”.
-Keeping the ear canal dry is very important.
-After swimming or bathing, tilt head to one side and “knock” the water out. Do the same to other ear.
-If water is still in the ear, rubbing alcohol can help dry it out:
  • Put your head over with that ear up, pull the ear upwards and backwards and install a dropperful of alcohol into it. Wiggle your ear to get the alcohol to go all the way in, then turn your head and let it drain out. The alcohol absorbs the water, helps dry out the ear, and may even kill bacteria and fungi.
  • If the alcohol feels too harsh to your ear, mix it half and half with white vinegar. (Vinegar contains acetic acid, which kills the bacteria and fungus.)
  • Caution: If you already have an ear infection, or if you have a perforated, ruptured, or punctured eardrum, or if you have had ear surgery, you should consult a doctor before going swimming and before you use these alcohol or vinegar type ear drops.
  • Avoid swimming/submersion for 5-7 days, after treatment of swimmers ear, to allow ear to completely dry out and heal.
-Avoid submerging your ear in a bubble bathe or a bathe with soaps and shampoos. Use a cup, with clean water, to rinse hair or head.
-Do not “scratch” ear canal with cotton swab, bobby pin, finger nail, or other sharp object.
-Avoid using earphones that need to be inserted in the ear.
-After excessive sweating, wash head / ear area with clean water.

What are the Symptoms?
  • Moderate to severe pain when ear is touched. The pain worsens when you chew, wiggle your earlobe, or press on the “tag” in front of the ear.
  • Itching or feeling of fullness within the ear.
  • Ear looks red and swollen, and drainage may be present from ear.
  • Possible low grade fever is present.

Essential Oils that help Ear Infections.
The same oils are used for swimmers ears, as they are for middle ear infections.
  • Apply 2-3 drops Eucalyptus from behind the ear, down the throat area, and on the chest. >>SEE IMAGE>> *Eucalyptus will 'open' the Eustachian tube, and 'prepare' the ear.
  • Wait one minute, then follow with 2-3 drops Rosemary oil, the same as suggested above.
    *Rosemary will fight the bacterial/viral infection.
  • Be sure to treat both ears. Even if only one ear is infected. This will allow balance to the body, and prevent the other ear from becoming infected, also.
  • Apply 2 drops Lavender oil, the same as suggested above, to help with pain. Can also rub 1-2 drops on the feet to help calm a child.
  • Apply warm compress, to help drive oils into the body, if desired.
  • Can also use 1-2 drops per la Immunity Blend, diluted with carrier oil, on the bottom of feet to help fight infection. Use also internally, Dip a toothpick in Spice Traders, then poke toothpick into an apple wedges or stir a drop into applesauce.
  • Can also use Oregano oil to fight infection and for pain. Mix 1 drop Oregano to 2 tablespoons Carrier oil. Apply a drop of the mixture onto a cotton ball, then place the cotton ball at the entrance of the ear canal. Keep it there, as long as possible. Do not drop into ear.
  • For acute situations, adults take 2 drops Oregano in a capsule, filled with carrier oil, internally twice a day, while treating the ear externally.
  • Can also take Immunity blend, internally. Mix 4-5 drops in a capsule, filled with carrier oil. Take 3 capsules with each meal for the first day. Then take 1 capsule at every meal the second day, and so on, until infection clears up.
Important Note: For Infants, Dilute any essential oil 50% with carrier oil (olive oil, grapeseed oil, etc.)