Random things I'm learning along the way ...

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living4experiences

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Ear beer, home brews....I just won't put anything in my ears if it's not commercially formulated and packaged in a lab or doctor prescribed.
 

Kimela

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Ear beer, home brews....I just won't put anything in my ears if it's not commercially formulated and packaged in a lab or doctor prescribed.

On an earlier trip this year we 'accidentally' went under the pier near Paradise in Coz. I tried very hard to not let it happen but the current was stronger than I could fin against and at the last minute I had to quickly descend to a safe depth to go under it (and I did NOT have my camera on!). In the process, my ears suffered a bit. I conferred with the EMT person on duty at Hotel Cozumel and they recommended I get some Sodrimax ear drops at Chedraui ($235 pesos or $11 - not bad). Turns out they have hydrocortisone, benzocaine and an antibiotic - I'd have to get a script for that here. Jackpot. I also carry some cheap OTC stuff I got at Walmart for swimmer's ear - I think it has some alcohol in it to dry out the residual water.
 

living4experiences

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On an earlier trip this year we 'accidentally' went under the pier near Paradise in Coz. I tried very hard to not let it happen but the current was stronger than I could fin against and at the last minute I had to quickly descend to a safe depth to go under it (and I did NOT have my camera on!). In the process, my ears suffered a bit. I conferred with the EMT person on duty at Hotel Cozumel and they recommended I get some Sodrimax ear drops at Chedraui ($235 pesos or $11 - not bad). Turns out they have hydrocortisone, benzocaine and an antibiotic - I'd have to get a script for that here. Jackpot. I also carry some cheap OTC stuff I got at Walmart for swimmer's ear - I think it has some alcohol in it to dry out the residual water.
Great tip on the Sodrimax. I'll get some next time I'm there. I use Mack's Dry-N-Clear at the end of every dive day to help the drying out process. I also use Doc's Pro Plugs, which was recommended by a dive doctor after I suffered a severe barotrauma and burst the lining of my eardrum years ago.
 

Stream2Sea

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Don't recall if this has been mentioned yet; get a lot closer to the equator than you're used to being, and the burning power of sunlight seems to pick up. Sunscreen is your friend in Bonaire; some of us pasty white folks can burn surprisingly fast. A few follow up thoughts:

1.) I like the Stream2Sea sunscreen. I once used one of those aerosol spray-on sunscreens from a big box store on my forehead in Bonaire and it ran down and got in my eye. The short-term burning was bad enough, but the notably altered color perception for a day or so freaked me out.

2.) I'm one of those people without much knack for subtlety - when I use sunscreen, I look like I got beat up with talcum powder. If you want to reduce the 'I rolled in Crisco' look, you can wear a shade hat (get one with a string that runs under your chin, for boats and windy locations) and wear a lycra dive skin (not too expensive, weight-neutral).
Excellent metaphor! We thought we'd heard them all, but being beat up with talc is a new one! :D With ours - a very small amount really goes a LONG way. We recommend applying in sections with pea-sized amounts Check out this short vid with some helpful application tips!
 

nippurmagnum

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Here is a little hack for the ear drops to prevent swimmers ear. Mix 1:1:1 Distilled White vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water. Dirt cheap. Available everywhere and you get tons of it, so if you have small ear canals you can actually flush with the solution instead of just doing drops because you get a lot of volume :)

I learned about this magic formula (alcohol/vinegar) when I got swimmers ear on a Cozumel trip many years ago. The pharmacy charged $8 for a little bottle of rubbing alcohol and vinegar. Worked like a charm. But I don’t see the point of adding water to the mix — after all, water is the enemy in this context, right?

When I go on a live aboard I always offer everyone the use of my big bottle of the magic mix. Usually, the first day there are no takers. By the third day, half the divers are borrowing it. By the end of the trip, everybody is using my bottle. Keeps everyone from getting ear infections, makes for a happier boat.
 

Ukmc

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I learned about this magic formula (alcohol/vinegar) when I got swimmers ear on a Cozumel trip many years ago. The pharmacy charged $8 for a little bottle of rubbing alcohol and vinegar. Worked like a charm. But I don’t see the point of adding water to the mix — after all, water is the enemy in this context, right?

When I go on a live aboard I always offer everyone the use of my big bottle of the magic mix. Usually, the first day there are no takers. By the third day, half the divers are borrowing it. By the end of the trip, everybody is using my bottle. Keeps everyone from getting ear infections, makes for a happier boat.
Too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. Commercial drops have 2% acetic acid which has antibacterial, antifungal and even antiviral properties without irritating the skin too much. So diluting vinegar 1:2 or 1:3 will get you into par with commercial formulations. Alcohol will break the water tension to make sure wetness doesn’t get trapped in the ear canal (or so they say) . Inability to get water out of the canal is in part a contributor to causation of swimmer’s ear.
 

Kimela

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Inability to get water out of the canal is in part a contributor to causation of swimmer’s ear.

When I was a kid I would get swimmer's ear (don't ask me how - I think I took swim lessons at the Y for a summer, otherwise I was in kiddie pools!). My doc had me put a drop of alcohol in each ear if I got water in there. It helped dry it out and, as far as I know, I never had any problems as a result.
 

tursiops

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Also on any visit to Mexico, get the actual antibiotic drops and keep it in your medical bag (you have a medical bag with things like eye drops, ear wax remover, and such right?). That way when you actually get swimmers ear you have the treatment right there and can start taking it. And not only that by the Mexican swimmers ear treatment has lidocaine so you get some pain relief. I also pair it, with my doctor's recommendation, with a double dose of ibuprofen.
^^THIS^^
We always stock up in Mexico. The OTC combo lidocaine/antibiotic ear drops are not even available in the US, even with a prescription.
 

scuBecca

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I don't know if anyone mentioned it, but scopolamine patches?

If you go the scopolamine route, I'd highly recommend testing it out on land first- I used to get really sea-sick and asked my doc if I could try a patch. Turns out, I don't have the blood pressure to support it (100s/50-60s is my normal). Put it on before bed, woke up, stood up and promptly fell over. I removed the patch, but it took close to an hour before I could stand without getting crazy dizzy, and my vision was blurred for a good chunk of the day. Definitely glad I tested it out beforehand!

Now I take meclizine, which doesn't make me sleepy, and not only keeps the queasiness at bay, but lets me chow down during a surface interval in choppy seas!
 

drrich2

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IIRC, be careful when you handle a scopolamine patch; if you touch your eye with some of the ingredient on your hand, your pupil can get quite large for awhile.

Bit of a tangent but may be of interest. There used to be a pill form called Scopace. It left the U.S. market, but a pill form of scopolamine can still be formed by what's called a compounding pharmacy, with a physician prescription. So if you're worried about making sure it stays in you rather than sticking on a patch, there's that.

Also...scopolamine is a prescription med., at least in the U.S. If you're on other med.s, and/or have health problems, talk to your physician and make sure adding it isn't going to create trouble. Sometimes overlapping side-effects (e.g.: anti-cholinergic) can be bad news.

I know in theory everybody who would check anything on the PADI-style questionnaires required by dive operators see a physician and get medical clearance to dive...but I've long harbored this nagging suspicion some people don't do that! Amazing, I know...
 
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