This is why ear-related illnesses such as inflammation of the ear canal are more common in summer. Below, you can read our advice on how to enjoy the water without causing problems for your ears.
The ear canal is a tube with winding walls, a cartilaginous outer area and a bony inner area covered by a very thin layer of skin. Inflammation of the ear canal is a common problem in children who are more sensitive and prone to infections, and is often an unpleasant consequence of a seemingly carefree trip to the beach. After spending time in the water, even after careful drying, water can still collect inside your ear, in a 'moat' near the eardrum. Bacteria can get under the skin from the collected water. The area narrows and an inflammation accompanied by pain and discharge develops.
The best way to prevent this issue is to keep your ears dry. This isn't as simple as it sounds, however, especially when it comes to kids. With a few tricks, though, this problem can be avoided.
How can you keep your ears dry?
- First, you should use a towel to try and get your ears as dry as possible. The best way is to use the tip of the towel or a cotton ball rolled up in your hand. But forget about cotton swabs!
- While drying their hair, some people also use the hairdrier on their ears. Even though you might enjoy the warm air on your ears, we wouldn't recommend it. Partly because it will dry out the skin, but also because it can overheat the ear drum.
- One good solution is to apply an isopropyl ear drop, which evaporates any water trapped inside your ear.
- After drying the ear canal, you can also use an infrared lamp – this is practical for small children, as it is difficult for them to notice if there is water left in their ear.
- You could also copy the pro swimmers. If you find the perfect earplugs that match the size of your ears, they can prevent water from entering the ear canal.
It is also essential not to take any issues with your ears lightly. If you experience persistent pain, a feeling of tightness or any discharge, please speak to an ENT specialist immediately.