Save money on swimmer’s ear

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It’s the 4th of July!

Of course, you go swimming. Unfortunately you come down with a case of swimmer’s ear. Your doctor orders a prescription. When you visit the pharmacy you can’t believe a little bottle of ear drops costs $100!

Perhaps you’d like to try this 10-cent home remedy first: make a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar and fill your ear canal with the solution 4 times a day for 2-3 days. If you notice no improvement, you can still buy the prescription. If it is helping, continue the treatment until your ear feels fine, then 2 or 3 days more.

Why does this work?

Each part of our body has its own set of “normal” germs (normal flora). They are suited to the specific environment. Many bacteria do not normally thrive in the naturally acidic environment of the ear canal. However, when you go swimming, the pH of the ear canal is increased. In this less acid environment, microbes can thrive. Using a weak acetic acid solution (vinegar) can restore the normal pH, allowing your body’s own defense system to resolve the infection. The prescription ear drop Vosol works on this principle.

Do not use the above suggestion if you have ear tubes, a hole in your eardrum, or if you’re not sure you have swimmer’s ear.

© Cynthia J Koelker, MD – All rights reserved

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