Swimmer’s Ear

 

kids swimming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With summer vacation officially here, chances are you and your kids are spending more time in the water, which can put them at higher risk for Swimmers Ear. Also known as otitis externa, this is an infection of the outer ear canal caused by bacterial or fungal infection. Swimmer’s ear is a bit of a misnomer because it can occur to anyone – anytime, but it predominantly presents in kids and teens in the summer because of increased exposure to water from recreational swimming (but note – this can also come from baths and showers). Prolonged moisture in the ear changes the acidity of the ear canal allowing the normally “friendly” bacteria to take over. Chemicals such as shampoos and other hair products can act in the same manner causing the infection.

Infection can occur if there is damage to the skin in this area or if the person is immunocompromised. Parents take note of your tweens and teens, as excessive earphone use can be a cause too, along with cleaning ears with sharp objects and cotton swabs.

Swimmer’s ear usually presents as pain in one ear, especially when you pull on the ear lobe. The ear may be itchy and red and may ooze. In severe cases there may be temporary hearing loss and possibly vertigo. You’re best bet is to see a doctor and most likely antibiotic eardrops will be prescribed.

As in all things, prevention (http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ear-canal-problems-swimmers-ear-prevention) is your best bet; wear a bathing cap or earplugs when swimming (the best earplugs are wax that can be formed into balls). Ensure the ear canals are dry after water exposure using a towel or gently drying with a blow dryer.

 

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Author: tammyjuco

Motivating and assisting you and your family to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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