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Ah, summertime! For many kids, it's their favorite time of the year—ranking right up there with the holidays and their birthday. Some favorite summer activities include sleeping late, hanging out with friends and of course, lots of time in the swimming pool. Unfortunately, more frequent "pool time" often results in a common ear infection called swimmer's ear.
Swimmer's ear can result in a painful infection and is relatively common. It's often caused by water that's become trapped in the ear canal, creating the ideal environment for bacteria to flourish. Some symptoms of swimmer's ear include: redness in the ear, draining of clear, odorless fluid, itching inside the ear and mild pain. This summer, you can keep an eye out for these symptoms if your child seems uncomfortable after a pool trip.
Left untreated, swimmer's ear can mean an increase in the pain, muffled hearing, and a sense of fullness in the affected ear. Fortunately, there are some fairly simple things you can do to help prevent you or your child from getting swimmer's ear! Check out some common solutions below.
Wearing earplugs is a good way to keep water out of your ears in the first place. It's also a good idea to make sure that you're swimming only in bodies of water that are clean. Make sure the bacteria levels of any natural bodies of water are safe and check pools and spas to make sure they're well-maintained before getting in.
When you're done swimming, it's important to get as much water as possible out of your ears. You can try shaking your head or tilting it to let the water drain out. It can also help to pull your earlobe at different angles. Dry your outer ear with a towel or a hair dryer on low.
There are also swimmer's ear drops available over the counter that can help dry up leftover water or you can make some at home. Simply mix a half-teaspoon each of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar. Pour this swimmer's ear home remedy into each ear before letting it drain out. Don't use ear drops if your eardrum is torn, you've had ear surgery, or if you have ear pain.
It can be difficult to remember is to leave the inside of your ear alone. The wax inside your ear, for example, is there to protect your ear and can help prevent swimmer's ear and other infections. When you are trying to remove it, you could accidentally scratch your ear or even push it further inside!
Even though swimmer's ear seems to be a summertime rite of passage for many families, a few preventative measures can reduce the chances of it benching your kids. Talk to your healthcare professional at your local MedPost Urgent Care about how to prevent and treat swimmer's ear.