20 answers

What is the best over the counter medication to cure swimmer ear

Anyone know what to do for swimmer's ear? My doctor gave me a prescription for these ear drops (antibiotic) which i was going to get filled but w/my insurance having a high deductible i need to pay $98 for these ear drops. My ear is painful to the touch and when i put any pressure to it. Do the over the counter drops work? I've had this now for about 3days but haven't tried anything yet. Any suggestions? I know about the vinegar and alcohol solution but i was told that would only be helpful in PREVENTING it NOT healing it.

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If your doctor gave you a prescription for an antibiotic, then you're having a bacterial infection. So, over the counter stuff won't get rid of that. The best thing to do is call your doctor and ask for Generic Cortisporin Otic solution.

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There are ear drops [Similasan] at Walmart that work great for this and any inner ear ailment. I believe it cost around $5. I also believe they carry another brand specific for swimmer's ear at around the same price.


The over the counter product named "Swim-EAR" works for me. I also was listening to the Peoples' Pharmacy on NPR and they recommend the over-the-counter drops because it has 3 ingredients that all work together, alcohol, vinegar and one other I can't remember.

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Go to the the health food store in your area there are 3 or 4 solutions for swimmers ear.

If you are breastfeeding you could try using breast milk. When my daughter was little and I was nursing my 3 year old had an ear infection and a friend who is a chiropractor said to drop breast milk in his ear because it contains a large number of antibiotics. I tried it with him for a week, while not giving him the antibiotic prescribed. When I went back to the ped. his ear was all clear. I told the nurse what I did and she said "that doesn't work", well clearly it did for him.
Other than that I would contact your doc and request a generic for the drug. Tell him with your health plan it's too expensive. He may even be able to hook you up with a free sample.

i have never had swimmer's ear, but have had earaches in the past. There are some over-the-counter ear drops you can purchase by similystan(spelling is probably wrong) they really helped me. The sell them at osco, walgreens etc. in the ear/eye portion of the aisle! I think they cost around $7.

HI Mimi,

If he gave you a prescription for an antibiotic, I'm assuming you have a bacterial infection. So... over the counter stuff won't get rid of that. Anyway... I may have some very good news about where to get your prescription.

Meijer has been giving away about 5 or 6 kinds of antibiodics absolutely FREE! PM me or call Meijer pharmacy and get the list that's free and then you can ask your doctor if any of them will be suitable in clearing up your infection. I would not wait too much longer... your hearing is serious.

There are Meijer stores in Arlington Hts., Naperville, and Bloomingdale. (Maybe more... I just can't think of anymore now.) There's a drive thru, too. The best part.... they just gave me a coupon for $20 (no strings attached) to spend in their store. It was attached to the bag with my son's free antibiotic inside: )

Good luck!


Swimmers ear is not the same as a middle ear infection. It IS bacterial and will require an antibiotic to clear. Call your doctor and explain that it is 98.00 for the cost of the prescription they gave you, and ask for Generic Cortisporin Otic solution (ear drops), which comes in a generic and is dirt cheap and effective or even Cipro pills which is on the 4.00 list at most pharmacies. I have a medical background, and am also well versed in alternative medicine having worked 2 years in a clinic that treated things naturally, and some of the suggestions made here concern me. Swimmers ear is painful, but pretty benign if treated appropriately... if left untreated, it can progress into serious situations. This is one of those situations where an antibiotic is your best choice. Once the infection is cleared, you can use alcohol to rinse out your ear canal to help prevent recurrence. Good luck.

Ouch - I hate swimmers ear. An oral antibiotic would probably work for you as well. I think I have had plain oral cipro prescribed for this once. The last one I had the doc prescribed a mild antibiotic eardrop but the infection just got worse. When I returned a couple days later they gave me a more potent ear drop, an oral antiobiotic, as well as Tylenol 3 because 3 ibuprofen tablets was hardly touching the pain. I think they like to use the drops as it gets the antibiotic to the source of the infection better but I would think an oral one would work just as well and you can get a lot of those for $4 or less. I also felt like my ear canal was so swollen the drops weren't really getting in there that well anyhow. You can also get a prescription for numbing drops too. Never tried them but you could ask. For a mild infection, I have also tried grapefruit seed oil (from a health food store) and it seemed to work. Good luck!

Mimi-Is this request for your little guy that has the rash as well??

First of all-you can get Debrox ($8.00 @ walgreens) or go to whole Foods or a mom and pop health food store (there is one is Niles I love) and get there ear drops for $14.00 ear drops or use hydrogen peroxide. As far as the pain with any thing like ear, sinus or a UTI you can give them baking soda in water to drink and in 20 minutes it is a great pain reliever and will help HEAL as well as the peroxide (it does not taste so great-you can keep pH drops on hand). Did your doctor tell you that antibiotics do not work on ear infections??

Let me know if you need more info.

I hope this helps)

Detox Coach

Dear Mimi, go to www.seagate.com and their ear drops work and won't cost you $98 and the one for kids work as well. L.

There are ear drops [Similasan] at Walmart that work great for this and any inner ear ailment. I believe it cost around $5. I also believe they carry another brand specific for swimmer's ear at around the same price.


As a fromer swimmer and swim coach we always used (recomended by Ear nose thorat doc.) rubbing alcohol. You dip your q-tip in the alcohol and then clean your ear, In the begining it hurts to do because of the tenderness but it clears it up fast. It also workd for chronic water in the ear. I always carried a box of q-tips and a bottle of alcohol and used it after every swim and showers.

Over the counter and Motrin. Works every time. Use the drops for about three to four days.

I know that it is expensive, but don't mess around with that. My grandmother's boyfriend actually lost his hearing in one ear due to swimmer's ear that was left untreated. The way I see it is that oyu know you would pay that for one of your kids, so why not yourself. Also, you could explain your situation to your doctor too, a lot of time the drug companies give them samples of meds. He may be able to just give them to you. Also, county health departments can be a great resource as well. You may have to wait in line awhile, but a lot of times they can really help you out. Good luck.

Oh no! My son just got over swimmer's ear and it was awful! The drops are what works! It healed within 3-4 days of using the drops and then we had to continue using them for 24 hours. Motrin also is great every 4-6 hours and helped greatly with the pain. My doctor said it was the only way to heal it. Swimmers ear is an infection of the skin inside the ear, rather than an actual ear infection, so it needs the drops to heal the infection. Good luck!

Swimmer's ear is not the same thing as an inner ear infection and an ear painful to the touch, or by pulling on the ear lobe, just like you are saying is a quick way to tell the difference between Swimmer's Ear and a middle ear infection. This can be VERY PAINFUL if left untreated. Check w/ your pharmacy to see if you REALLY need an antibiotic drop for this (they are the true professionals when it comes to medication - when my dr. prescribes something, my next stop is my local pharmacist to pick their brain about the medicine. This has saved me MANY times!) I have just used rubbing alcohol in the past - couple drops followed by cotton to keep the drops in the ear, used a few times a day - and stay out of the water for a few days, too. Or...someone mentioned "sweet oil". "Sweet oil" is just olive oil and you can warm it (as well as tolerated) and drop in ear a few times a day to soothe ear. Good luck!

I get water in my ears all the time (not from swimming) and end up with a bad case about once a year. A co-workers wife is a nurse and she suggested pouring a capful of peroxide in my ear. I was fearful at first because I just dont like pouring anything into my eyes, ears, nose, etc but after a few days I finally brought the peroxide to work w/me (my husband was too afraid to do it). Imagine the sight of several co-workers standing over me while one poured the cap in my ear. After lots of hissing and pops my ear was clear and less painful by the end of the day. That was several years ago and now I'm not afraid to do it myself now!

Be very careful with warming the sweet oil and putting it in the ear. While it does work, if the oil get s to warm it can burn. My friend just got 3rd degree burns from this, so I am trying to prevent the sane from happening to anyone else!

My dad used to heat up sweet oil on a tablespoon (out of the set you use to eat with) and would pour it into the ear that had the problem and thne clog it with a cotton ball. Then I would try to keep my head tilted that way the rest of the night, but I would wake up and it wouldn't hurt as bad...we would continue to do that until it stopped hurting.
The thing is though, if your doctor prescribed anti-biotics, it could be because you have a bacterial infection that required anti-biotics to get rid of. Since you could loose your hearing if you don't treat something like this properly, I would see if you could get a generic that wouldn't cost you as much...then do the alcohol thing to prevent it in the future...

The over the counter product named "Swim-EAR" works for me. I also was listening to the Peoples' Pharmacy on NPR and they recommend the over-the-counter drops because it has 3 ingredients that all work together, alcohol, vinegar and one other I can't remember.

See this website http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/home-remedies-for-...

The thing is once you get rid of it is not to get it back. I swim and do water aerobics. I use ear plugs that mold to the ear when I am in the water. They are available at Walmart by the ear and eye products. I also have a head band made just for swimmers helps make sure the plugs do not come out in any way. It really has helped me alot.

Good Luck,

This may sound strange, but I have a friend who swears that breastmilk is the cure for just about anything, including an earache or pink eye... She may be right, but you'd have to either be lactating, or know someone who is, and then be willing to put a few drops in your ear every night for a week or so. I only mention it as a 'natural' option. I don't think I could do it myself. Best of luck!

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