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Posted by Walt on November 25, 2005 at 21:49:48:

In Reply to: Use of solution for drying ear "and" killing bacteria posted by Kio on November 25, 2005 at 05:15:25:

I forget where I originally found that formula; I remember it was from an article about Navy divers and how they came up with a solution to fight 'swimmers ear'. My wife who is quite a swimmer also knew of it - her team would make this solution and use it after swimming. There are a number of variations (some use apple cider vinegar, which is considered more "natural"). The main point is to have the acidity; I use Heinz white vinegar which we buy by the gallon for all sorts of household uses, this solution being one.

The commercial product 'Swimear' is 95% alcohol and it dries out the ears very well. However, I've found that this product dries my ears a little too well, as it takes out the natural oils (I swim every other day, and the high alcohol content was drying out my ears too much). The glycerin in your product likely is there to replenish the oils. I've found that the 50-50 vinegar alcohol solution dries the ears, but isn't as harsh as a stronger alcohol %, so doesn't remove as much natural body oils ("wax"). Have not had an ear problem, so it definitely works for me.

From your other post it appears you have done quite a bit of follow-up research - bravo! On a personal note, I don't believe in using any medication to relieve decongestion in order to dive - if you're too congested you should take care of yourself first. I find that salt water is the perfect sinus reliever for me. Usually after a dive my sinuses totally open up, completely clearing my head if I'm the least bit 'stuffy'.

Along this line, my great aunt passed along a recipe for relieving sinus blockage - boil a 1 cup of water, add 1 tsp each of salt and apple cider vinegar and let cool so its warm to the touch. Hold your head down over a sink and inhale this mixture into your nostril one side at a time (do not inhale into your lungs) and hold it as long as you can. Repeat. It will really clear out your sinuses and if used regularly you'll keep them open and cleared.

Happy diving!

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