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Natural Swimmer's Ear Treatment

Not too long ago, I took my kids to the beach for a few days.  We brought back a small bag of shells, some exorbitantly-priced salt water taffy, and a case of swimmer's ear.

If you're a parent, you're probably very familiar with middle ear infections (that's generally the type of ear infection that follows a cold.)  Swimmer's ear is an infection of the outer ear canal.  It's usually caused by water getting trapped in the ear canal, allowing bacteria and, sometimes, fungus to grow.

Swimmer's ear makes your ear hurt!  It can also cause itching, redness, and swelling of the ear canal.  Usually, the ear feels full or plugged, and you might hear ringing or buzzing sounds.  Sometimes, you might even get some drainage.

I've successfully used this remedy to treat swimmer's ear a number of times in my children.  It usually takes just a day or two to get relief.  But if your kid has a severe case of swimmer's ear, or if it's not getting better after two days, you should head to the doctor's office.

Natural Swimmer's Ear Treatment
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon water

Mix the water and vinegar together.  Using a small medicine dropper, carefully place several drops of this mixture into the ear canal.  Do this twice a day.  Usually this clears up swimmer's ear in two days.

I like to mix this up fresh for each dose, since it's so easy to make. 

I always treat both ears with this mixture, even if the other ear doesn't seem affected.  My experience is, if one ear has it, the other isn't too far behind.


Sea Salt Compress
To help with the pain, I make this sea salt compress as well.  I've revised this treatment from Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health .

1 cup coarse sea salt
2 generous tablespoons dried lavender buds

Pour the salt and lavender into a cast iron skillet.  Heat until the salt is really warm.  Like, nearly too hot to touch.  Pour into a cloth napkin, gather up the ends and secure with a string or rubber band. 

Hold this compress over the affected ear as often as necessary.  It's a great pain reliever, and I think the heat and salt helps draw out the infection.

Swimmer's Ear Preventative
If you have a kid that's prone to swimmer's ear, this easy wash can help keep it from developing in the first place.

1/2 teaspoon rubbing alcohol (you could also use a very strong grain alcohol)
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Mix the alcohol and vinegar together.  Add several drops to each ear after swimming.  The alcohol helps dry up any leftover water in the ear canal, and the vinegar helps restore the pH balance.

Don't use this mixture on an active case of swimmer's ear, though.  The alcohol will burn the ear and end up making it feel much worse. 
 

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