Hot weather is settling in, and one of the best ways to stay cool is to chill by the pool. Kids love showing off their swimming skills. However, too much fun in the water can result in swimmer’s ear.
One of the most common reasons parents bring their children to ExpressCare Urgent Center in the summer is swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear, according to Kid’sHealth from Nemours, “is an infection of the ear canal, the passage that carries sound from outside of the body to the eardrum.” A variety of bacteria or fungi causes swimmer’s ear. When the ear is exposed to too much water, the extra moisture irritates the skin in the canal, causing bacteria or fungi to sink in.
Swimmer’s ear doesn’t just come from water. Putting foreign objects in the ears, excessive scratching or eczema, and using Q-tips to clean the ears can also lead to swimmer’s ear, according to KidsHealth from Nemours. Using hair and face products that may touch the ears can cause infections as well.
The doctors at ExpressCare recommend bringing your child in for an ear check if they are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Pain while chewing and when the ear is touched
- Itching and redness of the outer ear
- Green or yellow leakage
- Muffled hearing
- Redness and swelling of the outer area of the ear
- How to prevent swimmer’s ear
- Keep your kid’s ears dry. After exposure to water, dry the ears by gently wiping the outer part with a soft towel or cloth. After swimming, have your child shake extra water from their ears by holding their head to the side and tugging softly on the ear lobe to release excess water.
- Stay away from pools that have a high bacterial count.
- Don’t use earplugs. It might seem like the most logical solution but plugging the ears while swimming can trap germs and may cause swimmer’s ear.
- Cover your child’s ears with a wash cloth when applying hair and face products. The cotton balls will protect the outer ears from exposure to bacteria.
Despite how uncomfortable it is, swimmer’s ear is not a cause for concern and can be easily treated. If your child is experiencing symptoms or signs of swimmer’s ear, visit your local ExpressCare for an ear check. One of the medical providers will examine the child’s ear and recommend what treatment is necessary.