Avoiding Swimmer's Ear This Summer

During the summer, many of us like to spend our time in the water to cool off. Unfortunately, this can lead to what is known as swimmer’s ear, here are ways to avoid infections.

When temperatures heat up, ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Kent Nunnally stays busy.

"The biggest problem is when children get in the water and the water stays in their ear canal. And it doesn't have the opportunity to drain out," explained Kent.

Nunnally is talking about external otitis or swimmer’s ear. In children it is one of the most common and costly doctors visit during the summer months. It can also be extremely painful.

“The ear really, really hurts and it will usually be one ear or the other. It's usually not both and the child's ear canal will swell shut,” says Kent.

Although patients with ear infections are normally prescribed antibiotics, Nunnally says the best protection is prevention. That means finding ways to get trapped water out of the ear.

According to Nunnally, “rubbing alcohol works beautifully and rubbing alcohol will evaporate any water in the ear canal. It also provides the advantage of killing any bacteria that would like to hang around in the ear canal as well.”

If your child has had tubes put in their ears and can’t use rubbing alcohol, Nunnally recommends using a hair dryer instead. He also says while ear plugs can be effective, they need to be fitted properly in order to keep the water out.

Chlorine can also irritate throats and noses. It can create sinus infections and even inner ear infections.
That's why doctors say to monitor your children after they've been swimming.

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