My child is prone to 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 swimmer’s ear may include itching, pain, drainage, swelling, redness to ear and face, hearing loss, and swollen lymph nodes.
Treatment by a physician may include antibiotic ear drops, cleaning of ear canal, oral antibiotics, steroids, placement of ear wick (if 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 ear buds
- 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.