My child is prone to a swimmer’s ear. Is there anything I can do to prevent it?
Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal brought on by a moist environment or trauma to the ear canal. The skin of the ear canal is very thin and easily torn. Symptoms of a swimmer’s ear may include itching, pain, drainage, swelling, redness to the ear and face, hearing loss, and swollen lymph nodes.
Treatment by a physician may include antibiotic ear drops, cleaning of the ear canal, oral antibiotics, steroids, placement of ear wick (if the canal is very swollen), and analgesics.
If someone is prone to swimmer’s ear, here are a few tips to reduce the risk:
- Use plugs when swimming and bathing
- Avoid inserting anything in the ear canal
- Avoid swimming in polluted water
- Avoid prolonged use of earbuds
- Keep ears free of excessive wax (this may require cleaning by a physician)
- Keep soap or shampoo out of ear canals
After water exposure, if the ear drum is intact, use over-the-counter swimmer’s ear drops or a 50/50 rubbing alcohol/vinegar solution, then dry ears with a blow dryer on the lowest setting at arm’s length.