Did you ever have the sensation that your ears feel clogged after a swim or taking a shower? That might mean that you have water in your ears. Any water can be contaminated with bacteria and, if not removed, you may end up with an infection of your external ear canal. This condition is often referred to as Otitis Externa or Swimmer’s Ear. Symptoms can include ear pain, itching and irritation in and around your ear canal as well as redness and swelling of your outer ear and ear canal.
But it mustn’t come to that as there are quite a few simple home remedies – Here, we’ve compiled a list of effective treatments to remove water from your ear canal or, even better, prevent the problem altogether. Read on to find out:
Tip #1: Try more water
This technique is equally surprising and effective. Just lie on your side and fill up the affected ear with clean water. Then wait a few seconds and turn over. All of the water should be able to come out easily!
Tip #2: Let gravity help you
This approach is similar to our first tip – but, forego adding water to your ear and simply lie on your side for quite a few minutes to ensure that all water is slowly drained from your ear canal.
Tip #3: Tug your earlobe
This approach works in a variety of different ways: you can either shake your head from side to side or tug your earlobe while tilting your head downwards.
Tip #4: Use a hair dryer
The hot air from a hair dryer may help to evaporate the water inside your ears. But, always make sure to turn it to its lowest setting and hold it at a minimum distance of one foot away from your ear to avoid any injuries.
Tip #5: Try olive oil
This requires a bit of time and preparation but it works. Simply warm some olive oil and then drop a small quantity within the affected ear. Lie on your side to let the oil do its job and then get up and tilt your head downward. The oil will not only help to repel and therefore remove the water but may also help to prevent infections.
Tip #6: Try EarPro
EarPro is an effective solution against trapped water and related ear issues. EarPro’s main ingredient coats the ear canal with a highly water-repellent layer, waterproofing the skin lining and dispelling water from the ear. This limits direct skin exposure to water and any contaminants or microorganisms contained in the water, helping to prevent ear infections and Swimmer’s Ear.
EarPro contains oregano oil whose natural antimicrobial properties target any bacteria and fungi that can cause ear infections.
EarPro is highly effective and has helped many customers. You can find their helpful reviews here.
Tip #7: What not to do!
Some advise to use eardrops made of either hydrogen peroxide or a mix of alcohol and vinegar. However, without consulting a physician, we certainly do not recommend using these.
Please also don’t use any objects within your ear canal such as your fingers or cotton swabs as you most likely make things even worse by adding bacteria or injuring your ear.
Also, please go and see your doctor if you have pain or any other symptoms which may indicate an infection of your outer ear canal.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time.
Many of us love alpine or downhill skiing which, in any normal year, is equally fun and healthy. But, let’s face it, it can also be a bit repetitive and, given COVID-19, the skiing season 2020/21 is nothing but a distant dream anyway. So, for the ones among you looking for different and exciting experiences, here are favourites of unusual winter sports which you can to try out now.
Read on and decide if you’re ready to spice up your winter sport fun (this or next snowy season):
Snowshoeing in the French Alps
There are many reasons why snowshoeing is great. For us though it’s mostly the mix of being able to enjoy an untouched, beautiful winter landscape and not having to deal with any crowds – which makes for a calming experience. And, from a practical perspective, it is inexpensive and you can snowshoe pretty much wherever there is snow!
There are many locations across Europe and the USA where you can snowshoe but Morzine-Avoriaz in France is a great place to start exploring the mountains on snowshoes, away from the usually busy pistes.
Yukigassen is is a snowball fighting-competition originally from Japan but, today, the sport is played in many European countries as well as in Australia and Canada. Yukigassen is a team sport played between two teams each with seven players. The game is played on a specially designed court and comes with several small wall-like barriers. For each match, each team gets to use 90 snowballs. The objective for each team is to get all the players of the opposing team out (i.e. hit by a snowball), or capture the opposing team’s flag. The team that wins two sets first is the winner of the match.
Curious? Here are some tips on how to get started with some serious snowball fighting at home or wherever you are.
Skijojring in the USA or Finland
If you haven’t heard of it yet, skijoring is a winter sport in which a skier is pulled by a horse, one or more dogs or a motor vehicle. Essentially, skijoring is about finding balance and harmony between the skier and, for example, their dogs’ running and pulling power. Skijoring even had its Olympic debut at St Moritz 1928 but, unfortunately, never appeared on the Olympic programme again. You can go skijoring in various locations across the USA and in Europe.
Ready to skijor with your own dog at home? Here are some great tips on what you need and how to get started!
Fat biking in the Alps
Fat bikes are bicycles which are optimised for an off-road experience through its oversized tires. There are quite a few reasons why fat biking is great. One reason is that it is a great and challenging workout which can help burning up to 1,500 calories – in just one hour that is! “Because it’s not weight bearing, the recovery time is less despite the balance and core strength it requires,” adds Andrew Gardiner, a former ski coach. Also, fat biking can take you into terrain which is otherwise simply unaccessible. Bikepacker Joe Cruz agrees by saying that “for me, the fat bike is for the 10 percent of terrain on my trips that can’t be ridden on any other kind of bike; it’s for the realization of the absolute limit of what bikes can do off road. They’re perfect”.
Many think of the hot summer months as the best time for surfing and, true, many of the places we here at EarPro personally love offer a great summer surfing experience. So, why would anyone face up to the challenge and choose cold water and icy winds over warm sandy beaches and sunshine?
“Most people have heard of the classic surf film The Endless Summer, but what surfers like myself chase is actually the opposite,” says professional big wave surfer Mark Healey. “We spend the Northern Hemisphere Winter in the north and when spring arrives we turn our focus to Fall/Winter in the Southern Hemisphere.”
There are many reasons why cold-water winter surfing is great: the waves are at their best, the crowds are smaller and it’s even good for your health.
Here are our top three reason why you should give cold-water winter surfing a try:
In many locations, swells become greater during the winter. So, forget the sometimes seemingly never-ending flat spells and only ankle-high waves that accompany so many summer surfing experiences. Simply put, winter waves are more reliable than summer swell and less northerly winds also mean the swell is smoother. And, as there are less surfers out in winter, you have a greater choice of what swells to surf and, in turn, this can make you a better surfer.
Reason #2: No crowds mean the waves are yours
Can you imagine a surf spot where you can keep riding great swells without any other surfers in sight? Many do not think of surfing as a year-round sport and, more often than not, there will only be very few surfers during the winter period. And that is exactly why surfers in the know are very much looking forward to this time of the year. Patrick Gudauskas, a professional surfer from Southern California, fully agrees with us that winter is the best time to surf, saying that ‘in California it’s much colder, and with the larger waves you can often times find less people in the water and score magic windows all over the coastline.’
Reason #3: Cold-water winter surfing is healthy!
Unless you spend your days in the slopes snowboarding or skiing you will definitely get too little sunlight during the winter months. Going winter surfing will definitely help with getting that extra and much needed dose of vitamin D. Also, it can boost your immune system as studies show that the cold water acts as a mild stressor activating the immune system. The cold water also gets your blood pumping which may improve your circulation, in particular to extremities. As if that weren’t enough, the large winter swells are great to practice your paddling, burn calories and also build up core strength!
But, always remember that winter surfing is not without risks. The Irish Surfing Association has published a very useful guide for the winter surfing sessions a summary of which you can find here.
As always, let us know about your cold-water winter surfing experiences but, above all, stay safe and have fun!
Winter swimming – and for some even ice swimming – is surprisingly popular with a growing group of swim fans. However, the threat of a COVID-19 infection keeps many swimmers from taking a dip in lakes and open-air pools as even swimming in seas is rumoured to be risky. It’s of course helpful to avoid the ‘four C’s’ — closed spaces, crowded places, any close-contact settings and also continuous exposure – in any situation. But, due to rampant misinformation many are unsure if swimming in winter during the coronavirus pandemic can indeed be safe.
That’s why we curated the below, helpful considerations:
What are the health benefits of winter swimming?
One of the reasons why winter swimming is gaining popularity across the globe are the significant health benefits attached to it. Some of the main benefits are that cold water can boost your immune system, that it will help improve your circulation and will also help to reduce stress. To top it off, winter swimming may also be helpful fighting a range of mental health problems such as depression.
What are the health risks of winter swimming?
Given these impressive benefits, it’s important to be also aware of the risks. So, before jumping into the cold water, especially open water such as rivers or lakes, please consider these health risks:
Hypothermia refers to a drop in core body temperature to below 35C. Typically, it takes the human body twice as long to warm back up as it does to cool down. When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally. Left untreated, hypothermia can lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and even to death;
Cold water shock is your body’s short-term involuntary response to being immersed in cold water. This shock causes the blood vessels in the skin to close and your heart to work harder. It also produces the ‘gasp’ response, as well as rapid breathing. Typically, a cold water shock lasts for about 1 to 2 minutes;
Chilblains are small, itchy swellings on your extremities after being out in cold weather. You won’t get chilblains from swimming in icy temperatures but may appear if you warm up again too quickly. These little red bumps on your skin are not usually serious but can be uncomfortable.
Our friends at Netdoctor put together these helpful safety precautions and following these tips will help you make safe choices:
Think before you go into the water – Always do your research first, check entry and exit points and know about tides, currents and other factors;
Wear a wetsuit – A wetsuit can help to keep you safe and also more comfortable – especially in water below 5C. But, remember that wetsuits do not offer a full protection against hypothermia;
Never swim under the influence – We hope this one is obvious and needs no explanation;
Be social – Always swim with others or, at the very least, let others know where and when you’re going for a swim;
Always enter the water slowly – Entering the water slowly will help protect you against the cold water shock;
Know your limits – Knowing one’s limits is key to staying safe when swimming in cold water. Under no circumstance you should stay in longer than you are comfortable;
Avoid crowds and maintain at least a 1.5 metre distance from others, even when you are swimming, says the Word Health Organisation (WHO). Wear a mask when you’re not in the water and you can’t stay distant. Clean your hands frequently, avoid touching surfaces, cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or bent elbow and stay home if you’re unwell.
Could COVID-19 be spread in an open-air swimming pool?
Vincenzo Romano Spica, Professor of Hygiene at the University of Rome (Italy) says that ‘at the moment, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of swimming pools; and proper operation, maintenance and disinfection should remove or inactivate the virus causing COVID-19. However, SARS-CoV-2 could be present in saliva or other biological fluids that could contaminate the water even just in traces, protecting the virus with organic material. Therefore, chlorination and more generally water disinfection are especially important.’
Does chlorine kill coronavirus in open-air swimming pools?
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the chlorine in the water should inactivate coronavirus and ‘based on what we know about chlorine and other viruses, it is likely safe to be swimming in a properly maintained pool, provided you continue to observe rules of social distancing and proper hand hygiene‘, says Dr. Cicogna (MD).
But, in the absence of epidemiological evidence, it is necessary to be cautious – to lower your risk of coronavirus while at a public pool, please…:
…stay at least 1.5 metres away from people (in or out of the water);
…wash your hands with soap and water or sanitise your hands often;
…avoid touching your face;
…wear a face mask when you’re out of the water;
…don’t wear a face covering in the water as they’re hard to breathe through when wet.
Could COVID-19 be spread in open water?
As far as we know, there are no known cases of people getting infected while swimming in open water. But, similar viruses have shown to be capable of living in environments such as lakes or rivers. This could mean that these viruses can be infectious at least for a little while. The associated infection risk will be low if it is not crowded and also if the body of water is large – the dilution effect will produce a very low viral density.
Should I wear a mask while winter or ice swimming?
No, not while being in water as you could end up with trouble breathing if the mask gets wet and heavy. But, you should wear a mask right after leaving the water and at all times adhere to the recommended guidelines such as keeping your distance, washing your hands often, covering your coughs and disinfecting chairs or benches you sit on. And, lastly, don’t share gear with others like your diving hat, swimming gloves or your EarPro bottle.
Where can I get more info about winter & ice swimming?
Just visit the EarPro YouTube channel where we’ve compiled a list of videos to get you started.
And, finally, can you recommend any locations for winter swimming?
Here are some of the best locations across the globe for a truly fascinating winter swimming experience – enjoy and let us know of your experiences!!
ScubaPortal is Italy’s premier destination for all aspects around scuba diving. In October 2020, its managing editor tested EarPro and published his findings in their magazine.
ScubaPortal kindly agreed for a translated version of this review to be published here:
EarPro is a oregano oil-based, convenient spray which comes with naturally antibacterial properties. EarPro claims that it helps fight bacteria which may cause ear infections and pain, but, while doing so, doesn’t impact the healthy and needed good bacteria in our ear canals.
Recently, during a week of diving on the island of Elba, I had the opportunity to test if EarPro is indeed a new and effective way to fighting ear issues – the traditional nemesis of many divers.
Here is how EarPro works: you simply spray it into your ears before entering the water and the solution creates a layer waterproofing the external auditory canal. This will prevent any water to be trapped. Often, trapped water causes the growth of harmful bacteria which may lead to infections (external otitis), pain, irritation and swelling. The oregano oil doesn’t only smell nicely, it also helps to fight the growth of such harmful bacteria. Clinical tests confirm that specifically those germs responsible for ear infections are the ones eradicated. This is in stark contrast to most of the products that divers use to prevent or treat ear problems. Typically, these are based on alcohol or other substances that dry out the very delicate and sensitive environment within our ears, killing the entirety of the microbial flora in our outer ear canals in the process.
I used EarPro before each dive as instructed, immediately getting a feeling of freshness and well-being in the ear, which remains naturally soft and moist. I have never had the sensation of a plugged ear, or of hearing loss. I definitely recommend it, for all the reasons listed above.
Playing in water is fun for people of all ages and many people enjoy swimming, surfing and lots of other activities in water to their fullest. But, all of the splashing around can also lead to water getting trapped in your ears creating a sense fullness in either one or sometimes even both ears. When this – typically bacteria-laden – water isn’t properly drained, the warm, moist environment of the ear canal creates a perfect environment for bacteria to multiply and may cause an infection.
That’s why we put together this helpful infographic giving you essential information on what causes water to be trapped in our ears in the first place, what we can do to prevent this from happening as well as any related health issues and when it is time to see a doctor.
We already introduced you to our favourite surf spots in Europe, the Americas and Asia – now we’d like to put the spotlight on Australia.
We at EarPro think that Australia is a surfer’s paradise – wouldn’t you agree? The vast variety of beaches covering the coasts of Australia make it one of the top destinations for surfers across the world.
Here are some of our favourite surf spots for you to choose from based on your surfing capabilities.
The Pass, Byron Bay
The Pass at Byron Bay in the east of the country is a spectacular place for all surfers and skill levels. This surf spot comes with some of the best breaks and long rides. The best time to head to The Pass for surfing is between April and September.
Kirra, Gold Coast
Kirra is the dream spot for advanced surfers. Here you will find great waves and powerful and heavy tubes. The best time for surfing is from March to June, but you can come here anytime from February until July for an amazing surfing experience.
This surfing spot is particularly popular among beginners and intermediate surfers. When the tide is low, we’d recommend only experienced surfers ride some waves as the rocks are quite close to the surface. The best time to try this surf spot is between February and July.
Angourie Point, New South Wales
Angourie Point is one of the more scenic surf spots in Australia as it has a beautiful national park around it. Depending on the swell size, we’d recommend this area for intermediate and advanced surfers.
Bells Beach, Victoria
This surf spot has some amazing breaks and is the perfect location for avid advanced surfers. The water can be quite chilly, so you might want to bring your wetsuit. Anytime between April and October will guarantee you a great surf experience.
Treachery Beach, Queensland
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, Treachery Beach is the perfect place for you. It is still counted as some of the more secret surfing spots and has great waves for surfers of all levels.
Main Brak, Margaret River
Main Break is a surf spot for the adventurous, experienced and brave. Here you will find spectacular waves, hollows and bowls. Main Break should not be underestimated and we recommend wearing protective gear.
Caves, Cactus Beach
This is another great spot for experienced surfers. Waves can reach extreme heights and you will find some heavy swells here, especially in winter. The best time to surf in Caves is between April and October.
Burleigh Heads, Queensland
Burleigh Heads is a stunning location for surfers of all levels. You will get amazing point breaks and draining tubes here. Another plus: this surf spot is usually less busy compared to some of the nearby locations in Queensland.
Which are your favourite surfing spots? We’d love to hear your recommendations – feel free to reach out and share them with us.
When talking about the best surfing spots, places such as California, Australia or France come to mind. While we absolutely love all these places for surfing, we would also highly recommend heading to Asia.
Today, Asia is actually one of the most popular destinations for surfing, offering great breaks for beginners and experts alike. Here are our favourite surfing spots in Asia that you should definitely add to your bucket list:
Laundry Bay, Indonesia
Located on the beautiful island of Nias in Indonesia, Lagundri Bay is a great surfing spot away from the crowds. Waves are on average around 2 meters high and offer best conditions for surfers of all levels. The best time to go is between May and September.
Jialeshui Beach, Taiwan
Thanks to its seasonal typhoons, Taiwan is also known as the “Hawaii of the east”. Intermediate to advanced surfers will absolutely enjoy Jialeshui Beach. Come down here between June and August for an amazing time.
Bali had to make it on our list. Despite it being a very popular surf spot, we really enjoy the people, the vibe and, of course, the amazing waves. The best time to surf here is between May and October.
This surf spot is famous for its waves: Cokes and Chickens. And we can tell you, they are spectacular! This is not a spot for beginners, but more experienced surfers will love the fast barrel sections and long rides.
Siargao has some of the best waves in the world and a total of 20 surf breaks. No surprise that surfers from all over the world come here. We can recommend this surf spot for beginners and experts – come here between September and November to catch the best waves.
Kovalam is a beautiful beach in southern India, offering perfect conditions for beginners. Surfing here is also very cheap and the locals are very inviting. Head to this surf spot between December and February and you’ll have a great time.
Weligama, Sri Lanka
This is another amazing surf spot for beginners. The beach at Weligama is very long and on a sand break, so you don’t have to be afraid of hitting anything or anyone. The best surfing time is between January and April.
Kata Beach, Thailand
Kata Beach in Phuket offers everything from soft waters to heavy swells. It’s the perfect spot for surfers of all levels. April to November is a great time for surfing in Thailand but if you prefer calmer waves, come here during the winter months.
Da Nang, Vietnam
Vietnam has an incredible coastline. One of the most popular surf spots is Da Nang and we couldn’t agree more. This spot has great waves that break all year round but the main surf season is between September and March.
Which are your favourite surfing spots? We’d love to hear your recommendations – feel free to reach out and share them with us.
Trapped water means that water gets stuck in the ear canal. Trapped water is a common issue, especially when you spend a lot of time in water. Trapped water typically causes a plugged-up sensation and sounds often appear muffled. Many people suffer from ear pain, tinnitus as well as loss of coordination and balance. If left untreated, there is a risk of developing Swimmer’s Ear, Surfer’s Ear or other types of infections that may result in hearing loss.
Trapped water is not a life-threatening condition but it can lead to outer ear infections, severe pain, a doctor’s visit and having to take antibiotics. If trapped water is not removed from your ear, you are at a greater risk of permanent hearing issues and ear damage. In the worst scenario, you may end up with an infection known as Swimmer’s Ear which can lead to deep tissue infections (cellulitis), bone and cartilage damage or necrotizing otitis externa. You should, therefore, take actions to avoid trapped water.