Outer Ear Infections (External Otitis)
The human ear is not designed for California living -swimming, daily shampoo, hot tub, scuba diving. The human ear needs wax (cerumen) to protect against the ravages of soap and water. Unfortunately we are taught with religious fervor to scrub the ears with soap and water. WRONG. Or use alcohol ear drops. WRONG. You need the wax. What happens is that once the wax is out of the ear canal you have the equivalent of dishpan hands of the ear canal. The ears itch and you scratch it in your sleep, then it gets infected. So, avoid this by filling the ear canal with baby oil before shower or washing the hair. This prevents irritation caused by soap and water and helps keep the ear canal properly oiled. If itching does start, taking one of the over the counter antihistamines such as Chlortimeton or Benadryl at night may stop the itch and prevent you from scratching the ear in your sleep.