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Advise on preventing ear infections...

Peterborough...
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15 posts
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Advise on preventing ear infections...

Can anyone recommend the most effective remedy for preventing ear infections? I know of 'Swim Ear' but heard about a review that said it felt like they were pouring acid into their ear because it burnt so much. Hmm... think I'll give that a miss. Another suggestion was 50/50 water vinegar or 50/50 water alcohol mix. I've bought some swimming earplugs but apparently these aren't a 100% guarantee and could potentially damage your ears.

Most suggest the following (after snorkelling/diving):

1. Dry your ears well.

2. Rinse with bottled/clean water.

3. Apply ear drops/mixture.

I've also read that applying a small amount of olive oil the night before or in the morning can help to lubricate the ear, as drying out the ear too much can also cause infection. Lots of helpful advise but I feel like I'm back to square one again. Please help?!

Divide, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Maldives
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14,372 posts
18 reviews
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1. Re: Advise on preventing ear infections...

i use a mask http://www.proear2000.com/ that keeps my ears dry. i am very succeptable to ear infections and used to get nasty ones . the mask looks goofy , but i haven't yet seen a fish laugh at me and not even a hint of an earache since

Newark
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116 reviews
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2. Re: Advise on preventing ear infections...

In the past I've used 'swim ear' with no problems at all but nowadays I ensure I have dried my ears then add a few drops of iso-propyl alcohol/acetic acid/water (1:1:0.5). As a belt and braces approach I also carry anti-biotic ear drops. Hope this helps.

Oxford, United...
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3. Re: Advise on preventing ear infections...

Hi Jaffa

As I understand it, the really important thing is to thoroughly rinse your ears with clean, tap water after swimming/snorkelling. This rinsing washes out the microscopic creatures that otherwise die in your ear canal and cause the infections. Careful drying is the next important thing. SwimEar is a drying agent - 95% isopropyl alcohol - which evaporates quickly. It can feel as though the ear canal is burning but that is just the alcohol and the drying sensation.

OD

Peterborough...
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15 posts
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4. Re: Advise on preventing ear infections...

Thank you for your replies. This is once in a lifetime trip where I'll attempt to snorkel :-) so I probably won't buy the mask. Thanks for the suggestion though. My doctor doesn't like giving out antibiotics so I might have a problem getting my hands on some antibiotic ear drops. I guess I'm going to have to take some over the counter meds and maybe a few home remedies and pray that it keeps any ear infections at bay.

Swanwick, United...
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4,400 posts
36 reviews
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5. Re: Advise on preventing ear infections...

One of the reps told us not to use cotton earbuds on holiday as this can push any nasties further down the ear canal.

We also use water to rinse our ears after snorkelling and because my husband has had a few problems with his ears, on our last holiday we used 'swimear'.

T23

Liverpool GB.
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7,430 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: Advise on preventing ear infections...

jaffa

You can get Antibiotic ear drops, over the counter without a prescription at the pharmacy next to the bar / cafe at Male arrivals.

R

Edited: 03 August 2010, 12:46
Edinburgh, United...
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4,309 posts
52 reviews
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7. Re: Advise on preventing ear infections...

Hello

Having benefitted from previous TA advice (my husband had 2 trips spoilt by ear infections) I can report back the following:

- I bought him that 'special' mask but he did not find it 100% effective in keeping water out - maybe one size does not fit all or he did not use it right

- he also took soft silicone ear plugs, easily and cheaply available from Boots and they did the trick (took 1 pack of 6, are reusabale, lasted for 14 night holiday)

- in addition he followed strict regime of rinsing out ears with mineral water after each swim / snorkel

- to be on safe side (I know .. but see above) used SwimEar which I bought online and which he found 'burnt' - I tried it and found it felt midly warm, clearly I don't have sensitive ears!

- his doctor also presribed him some antibiotic eardrops to take with him to use should the worst happen (rather than as a preventative) - luckily he never needed them!

In summary - silicone eardrops and rigorous rinsing should be sufficient. (All major islands have doctors where antibioatic eardrops easily available.)

Karla

London, United...
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188 posts
28 reviews
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8. Re: Advise on preventing ear infections...

We have always used "Swimear" and had no problems at all. Certainly didn't sting and suited us perfectly, but I guess it is down to the individual.

Edited: 03 August 2010, 13:28
Peterborough...
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9. Re: Advise on preventing ear infections...

Thanks again for your replies. Lots to consider ;-)

Liverpool
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10. Re: Advise on preventing ear infections...

Sal clear is an alternative product to swim ear....

I had a bit of an ear infection about a week before we left for Angaga, and was a bit worried. I used speedo ear plugs, which worked great - and as a precaution used the sal clear. It didn't cause any discomfort at all - we bought it from our local dive shop.

Ian