It’s the sound of summer: Kids splashing and giggling in the water without a care in the world. But when those laughs turn to cries not long after swimming, there’s a good chance there’s water trapped inside the ear causing intense pain. If you want your child to enjoy summer to the fullest this year, it’s a good idea to learn how to prevent such pain from happening.
What is Swimmer’s Ear?
Swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa, is an infection of the outer ear canal. It happens when contaminated water stays in the ear canal long enough for germs to grow and infect the skin. Although public pools can be a breeding ground for germs, lake water is more often the cause of swimmer’s ear in the summer.
Symptoms of an outer ear infection, or swimmer’s ear, include:
•Pain when pressure is placed on the ear or when the ear is tugged
•Itchiness inside the ear
•Redness and swelling of the ear
•Pus draining from the infected ear
How Can I Prevent Swimmer’s Ear?
Swimmer’s ear is not contagious, so you don’t have to keep your child from playing with a friend who has it. The best way to avoid this type of ear infection is to take some precautionary steps before your child goes into the water.
•Use ear plugs, a bathing cap, or custom-fitted swim molds when swimming to keep the ear canal dry.
•When your child get out of the water, use a towel to dry their ears, and have them tilt their head to each side holding each ear facing down for a minute. This will help water drain out.
•If the insides of their ears still feel wet, try blowing a hair dryer on low heat and low speed a few inches from the ear.
•Don’t remove ear wax, since its job is to protect the ear canal from ear infections.
Doctors at Sound Health Services Treat and Help Prevent Swimmer’s Ear
If you or your child experience symptoms of swimmer’s ear, a Sound Health ENT doctor can prescribe antibiotic ear drops to cure the outer ear infection. If you want to enjoy summer to the fullest and avoid swimmer’s ear pain right from the start, our Audiologists can make custom-fit molds that keep water out of the ear canal. Call our office at (314) 332-1377 to schedule an appointment today.