Nothing says summer like taking a dip in the pool, floating down the river, or catching waves at the beach. And if you have kids, you’re probably acutely aware of the not-so-fun risk that these aquatic adventures can pose to your entire family of swimmers: clogged, achy ears.
You see, excess moisture in the ear—from swimming, bathing, rain, or even being outside in the elements—can lead to trapped water in the ear canal. Most common in swimmers, this stuck water can create a moist environment conducive to unwanted bacteria, leading to that uncomfortable, sometimes painful feeling.
The good news is that several natural remedies can help prevent and ease summertime ear issues for the whole family:
Although you can take natural measures to treat swimming ear pain once it has set in, your best bet is to prevent it from ever taking hold in the first place by making your ear environment inhospitable to the bad guy microbes.
Taking Care of the Oral Microbiome
The truth is that optimal ear health begins in the oral microbiome—the teeming colonies of more than 700 species of bacteria living in our mouth, nose, throat, and ears. If this vast environment of microorganisms is in balance with plenty of good guy microbes, then the bad guys are much less likely to gain a foothold and cause upper respiratory, throat, and ear issues—including ear pain from swimming.
So, how do we make sure this vital microbiome is in balance to help our ears stay healthy all summer long? Well, our mouth is the gatekeeper for our entire body, so what we put into it has a vast effect on our entire microbiome. Antibiotics in food and as medicine, antibacterial oral care products, and overly sugary diets can all deplete the beneficial bacteria that stand guard in our mouth (and then travel up toward our inner ears), protecting us from unwanted invaders.
Because our oral cavity is also our immune system’s first line of defense, the best strategy for keeping your family feeling their best this summer is to do what you can to stay away from probiotic-depleting substances, while also proactively populating their ears, noses, and throats with bacteria—aka probiotics.
Probiotics for Healthy Ears
The good news is that probiotics in our oral microbiome work hard to ward off the harmful bacteria that often try to make our ears their home after a long, glorious day in the water. Streptococcus salivarius is a beneficial oral probiotic strain that populates the oral microbiomes of newborns within just hours of birth and is often present in the mouths of healthy people. Clinical research shows that S. salivarius is crucial for upper respiratory and ear health.
One such strain, S. salivarius K12 (aka BLIS K12™), promotes upper respiratory and ear health by crowding out unhealthy bacteria and producing antimicrobial proteins that keep the bad guys at bay. In a research study, 22 children with a history of ear health problems took BLIS K12™ for 90 days. By the end of the trial, the kids showed a 50-60% improvement in hearing measurements and 40% fewer episodes of ear issues2.
In a different trial, three months of BLIS K12™ supplementation led to a 65% decrease in ear health issues, even six months after treatment was completed3! Another S. salivarius strain, BLIS M18™, also inhibits the unwanted bacteria that can cause throat, pharynx, ear, and dental issues4.
Oral Probiotics: Easy on the Ears
Fortunately, you can protect your whole family from the discomfort of summertime ear pain by taking the right daily oral probiotic formula.
Specifically for kids, PRO-Kids ENT is a chewable strawberry-flavored probiotic with BLIS K12™, BLIS M18™, and three other targeted strains to keep kids’ ears (and entire oral microbiome) healthy this summer. And, PRO-Kids ENT will get to work populating your kids’ mouth, nose, throat, and ears within just days3.
Whether you enjoy a gentle float on the lake or a rowdy day at the water park, splashing around (and cooling off) is one of summer’s most-loved rites of passage. By eating well, staying active, and taking care of all of your microbial friends that work so hard to keep you healthy, you can savor all that summer has to offer—without fear of uncomfortable ears—and live your happiest, healthiest days!References:
Emily Courtney is a Writer and Editor at Hyperbiotics and mom to two fun and active boys. Emily is passionate about natural wellness and helping others learn about the power of probiotics for vibrant health! For more ideas on how you can benefit from the power of probiotics and live healthier days, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.