My daughter swims year-round and has started getting swimmer's ear. Can we
prevent these infections? – Jovana
Swimmer's ear, or otitis
externa, is common in kids who spend a lot of time in the water. Water can sit
in the ear canal and lead to irritation and infection of the outer ear.
The good news is there are ways to help prevent outer ear infections. Your daughter
Wear a bathing cap or removable earplugs when she swims to help keep the ear canals
Tip her head from side to side after getting wet to let the water drain out.
Use a hair dryer on a low setting, at least 12 inches away, to dry her ears.
If her ears still aren't drying out, talk to your doctor about using ear drops
at the end of a swim. These help dry up the water in her ears and prevent infection.
Your daughter should not clean her ears with cotton swabs or put any other
objects in her ears. These can scratch the skin and let bacteria
or fungi get in. Ear wax
is actually good and can protect against swimmer's ear.
Doctors can treat swimmer's ear with antibiotic drops. Your daughter should stay
out of the pool while she's recovering. Make sure she uses the antibiotics for as
long as the doctor says, even if she feels better sooner. That's the best way to kill
the harmful germs.