Are Q-Tips Safe?

Are Q-Tips SafeNaturally, cleaning your ears is important, not just for proper hearing, but also for preventing infection.  Because the ear canal is susceptible to all manner of dirt, bacteria, and viruses that can wreak havoc with your health, it’s vital to keep the areas inside the ear clean and free of debris. But it’s not enough just to clean your ears. It’s also important to keep them free from moisture. If you’re a swimmer, you likely know about a medical condition known as swim ear or swimmer’s ear, which is an infection caused by excessive moisture within the outer ear canal. Unfortunately, though, swimmers aren’t the only ones who can get swim ear. In fact, anyone can contract it, and of swim ear causes there are many, including showering, ear buds, and even the use of Q-Tips. Swim ear drops are effective at helping to clear up swimmer’s ear infections, but isn’t it better not to get an infection in the first place? That’s why it’s important to know the right way to clean your ears and the wrong way. Though Q-tips and other cotton swab products are effective and useful for other endeavors, healthcare professionals strongly recommend against their use for the cleaning of the ear canal.
Continue reading “Are Q-Tips Safe?”

Cold Weather Exercise Ideas

Cold Weather Exercise IdeasDo you dread winter? Do the short days and below-freezing temperatures make you want to hole up in your house, cuddling under blankets and watching your favorite program’s all-day marathon? If this sounds like you, you’ve got to know you’re not alone. Millions of folks see winter’s chill as vindication for their inactivity. So what happens when that thaw comes and you realize you’ve not only spent four months lounging around the house… you’ve also allowed winter’s heightened snacking to gravitate right to your hips? Luckily, there are answers to this yearly question. The good news about cold weather is that it comes with its own special set of workouts that not only help keep you from gaining winter’s typical 10 pounds; they can also help chase away those winter doldrums and lift your spirits ‘til summer. Here are some great ideas for winter workouts, from those that are meant to be performed in the cold such as skiing and ice skating, to those you wouldn’t normally consider this time of year, such as walking and swimming (with extra tips on swimmer’s ear prevention).
Continue reading “Cold Weather Exercise Ideas”

Home Remedies for Swimmer’s Ear

Home Remedies for Swimmer's EarMedically speaking, it’s an infection of the outer ear canal. Most people know it as ‘swimmer’s ear.’ The problem with this title is that it’s not very descriptive. In fact, it’s even deceptive. Many people think that, because they’re not swimmers, or because they don’t swim very often, they won’t get swimmer’s ear. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re someone who showers or bathes (and hopefully you are), you can get swimmer’s ear. Though it is true that swimmers tend to experience it more often (hence, the name), it’s also true that all it takes is one time of excessive moisture to get into your ear for you to develop an outer ear canal infection. The symptoms of swimmer’s ear are easy to know, and of swimmer’s ear treatments, there are several. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you likely have swimmer’s ear: redness in the ear canal; pain in the ear canal; discharge from the ear, either an odorless, colorless fluid, or in more severe cases, pus discharge; muffled hearing; full feeling within the ear (caused by swelling and/or blockage). If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, your swimmer’s ear infection has progressed, and it’s important to see a doctor: severe pain that may have radiated to face, neck, inside the head; fever; swelling of lymph nodes. The good news, though, about swimmers ear is that there are home remedies that can reduce or even eliminate your symptoms. Continue reading “Home Remedies for Swimmer’s Ear”

Complications of Swimmer’s Ear

Complications of Swimmer's Ear
Swimmer’s ear… it might not sound like a horrible thing, but the fact is that it can cause a lot of complications. In fact, swimmer’s ear can even lead to partial loss of hearing, and you don’t have to be a swimmer to experience it. Swimmer’s ear is nothing more than an infection, and an infection is never a good thing. An infection means that you’ve got bad bacteria somewhere, and having it in your ear can be devastating, especially if it leads to pain and loss of hearing. Swimmer’s ear is something laypeople call an outer ear canal infection. The symptoms of swimmer’s ear include pain, redness in the ear, difficulty hearing, and discharge of fluid from the ear, among others. However, these are only the mild symptoms you can experience from swimmer’s ear. The more severe symptoms of this medical condition include severe pain and redness, pus discharge from the ear, blockage causing loss of hearing, pain that radiates to the neck and head, and even swelling of lymph nodes. One very severe complication that can occur from swimmer’s ear can even be life-threatening. This is why it’s never good to take swimmer’s ear lightly. Another reason is the complications that can occur due to this infection. Continue reading “Complications of Swimmer’s Ear”

How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear

Prevent Swimmer's Ear
If you’ve ever experienced swimmer’s ear, you know how painful and disruptive it can be to your life. In fact, you may have experienced it without even knowing it. Swimmer’s ear is the term that is often used for it, but the fact is swimmer’s ear is nothing more than in infection of the outer ear canal. Everyone, even those who never swim, can develop that outer ear canal infection. It can be a very painful occurrence that can even affect your ability to hear. This is why it’s important to learn about how to prevent swimmer’s ear. It’s also why it’s important to learn a little about the various swimmer’s ear treatments available to you. Continue reading “How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear”

What Is Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmer's Ear
Swimmer’s ear isn’t just for swimmers. It’s only named ‘swimmer’s ear’ because swimmers tend to experience it more than other people. But the fact is that swimmer’s ear can happen to anyone; just because you’re not a swimmer, don’t expect to be immune from it. The website of the Mayo Clinic defines swimmer’s ear, simply, as an infection in the outer ear canal. (The outer ear canal is that part of the ear’s structure which runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head.) So, if you have ears, you can get swimmer’s ear, and you don’t have to swim to get it. Do you take showers or baths? Do you wash your hair? Do you ever find yourself caught in the rain or in humidity? Do you use headphones or clean your ears with cotton swabs? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions (and hopefully you did, especially the shower/bath thing), then you can be prone to these infections of the outer ear canal that are also known as ‘swimmer’s ear.’ Continue reading “What Is Swimmer’s Ear?”