Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)enparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P-infectSwim-enHD-AR1.jpgSwimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal caused by many types of bacteria or fungi. Find out how to prevent it.external otitis, swimmers ear, swimmer's ear, otitis, OE, external otitis, ear, ears, ear canal, eardrum, ear pain, itching, pus is coming out of the ear opening, bacteria, fungi, swimming with heads under water, diving, exposure to moisture, polluted water, chlorinated water, my child put sharp objects in her ears, hearing, acid alcohol ear drops, swimear, keeping my children healthy, shower caps, cotton ear plugs coated with petroleum jelly, otorhinolarynogology, otolaryngology, ENT, ear nose and throat03/22/200004/21/201709/02/2019Steven P. Cook, MD03/01/2016da79a667-8579-45a4-bb16-268bfd4c4005https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/swimmer-ear.html/<h3>What Is Swimmer's Ear?</h3> <p>Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal, the passage that carries sounds from the outside of the body to the eardrum. It can be caused by many different types of bacteria or fungi.</p> <h3>What Causes Swimmer's Ear?</h3> <p>Swimmer's ear (or <strong>otitis externa</strong>) is common in kids who spend a lot of time in the water. Too much moisture in the ear can irritate and break down the skin in the canal, letting bacteria or fungi penetrate. It happens most often in summertime, when swimming is common.</p> <p>But you don't have to swim to get swimmer's ear. Anything that causes a break in the skin of the ear canal can lead to an infection. Dry skin or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/eczema-atopic-dermatitis.html/">eczema</a>, scratching the ear canal, vigorous ear cleaning with cotton swabs, or putting foreign objects like bobby pins or paper clips into the ear can all increase the risk of otitis externa.</p> <p>And if someone has a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/otitis-media.html/">middle ear infection</a>, pus collected in the middle ear can drain into the ear canal through a hole in the eardrum and cause it.</p> <h3>What Are the Signs of Swimmer's Ear?</h3> <p>Ear pain is the main sign of swimmer's ear. It can be severe and gets worse when the outer part of the ear is pulled or pressed on. It also may be painful to chew. Sometimes the ear canal itches before the pain begins.</p> <p>Swelling of the ear canal might make a child complain of a full or uncomfortable feeling in the ear. The outer ear may look red or swollen, and lymph nodes around the ear can get enlarged and tender. Sometimes, there's discharge from the ear canal &mdash; this&nbsp;might be clear at first and then turn cloudy, yellowish, and pus-like.</p> <p>Hearing might be temporarily affected if pus or swelling blocks the passage of sound into the ear. Fever isn't typical in most cases.</p> <p><img title="illustration" src="https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/illustrations/SwimEarPR-A-enIL.jpg" alt="illustration" name="5370-SWIMEARPR_286X233_ENIL.JPG" /></p> <h3>Can Swimmer's Ear Be Prevented?</h3> <p>Using over-the-counter drops of a dilute solution of acetic acid or alcohol in the ears after swimming can help prevent swimmer's ear, especially in kids who get it a lot. These drops are available without a prescription at drugstores, but should <strong>not</strong> be used in kids who have <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ear-infections.html/">ear tubes</a> or a hole in the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/eardrums.html/">eardrum</a>.</p> <p>To avoid injuring an ear, young kids should not clean their ears themselves. Also, never put objects into kids' ears, including cotton-tipped swabs.</p> <h3>How Is Swimmer's Ear Treated?</h3> <p>Treatment depends on the severity of the infection and how painful it is. A health care provider might prescribe ear drops that contain <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/medication-safety.html/">antibiotics</a> to fight the infection, possibly mixed with a steroid to reduce swelling of the ear canal. Ear drops are usually given several times a day for 7 to 10 days.</p> <p>If swelling of the ear canal makes it hard to put in the drops, the doctor may insert a wick into the canal to help carry the medicine inside the ear. In some cases, the doctor may need to remove pus and other buildup from the ear with gentle cleaning or suction. This lets the ear drops work better.</p> <p>For more severe infections, oral antibiotics might be prescribed, and the health care provider might want to run tests on discharge from the ear to find which bacteria or fungi are causing the problem.</p> <p>Over-the-counter pain relievers often can manage ear pain, but a prescription pain medicine may be needed if it's severe. Once treatment starts, your child will start to feel better in a day or two. Swimmer's ear is usually cured within 7 to 10 days of starting treatment.</p> <h3>How Can I Help My Child Feel Better?</h3> <p>Ear infections should be treated by a doctor. If not, the ear pain will get worse and the infection may spread. At home, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/acetaminophen.html/">acetaminophen</a> or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ibuprofen.html/">ibuprofen</a> may ease discomfort.</p> <p>Follow the health care provider's instructions for using ear drops and oral antibiotics, if they are prescribed. It's important to keep water out of your child's ear during the entire course of treatment. You can use a cotton ball as an earplug to protect your child's ear from water during showering or bathing.</p> <h3>When Should I Call the Doctor?</h3> <p>Call your doctor immediately if your child has any pain in the ear with or without fever, decreased hearing in one or both ears, or abnormal discharge from the ear.</p>Otitis del nadador (otitis externa)La otitis externa es una infección del canal auditivo (el orificio tubular que transporta los sonidos desde el exterior del cuerpo hasta el tímpano). El síntoma más característico es un fuerte dolor de oídos que empeora cuando se toca o mueve el lóbulo o cualquier otra parte externa de la oreja.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/swimmer-ear-esp.html/b0016415-dd82-4bab-9fac-d0ac98f85ab1
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Can I Prevent Ear Infections When My Child Swims?Find out what the experts have to say.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ear-infections-swimming.html/d9ee4200-b077-41a5-9d1b-22d80cb27d41
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Ear Tube SurgeryMany kids get middle ear infections (otitis media). Doctors may suggest ear tube surgery for those with multiple infections or a hearing loss or speech delay.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ear-infections.html/add2e377-3c66-403c-8c8a-eb82911bcc54
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Quiz: EarsTake this quiz about your ears.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/earquiz.html/0514305e-cda7-422e-9eff-cc258384800a
Swimmer's EarYou swam! You splashed! And now you have it: swimmer's ear.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/swimmers-ear.html/7b0baae5-7667-4ef4-a45c-f759da0d0885
Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal that can be caused by different types of bacteria or fungi. Find out how to prevent or treat it.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/swimmers-ear.html/e85e0f78-f168-471d-a08a-650ff72eb191
What Is an Ear Infection?A middle ear infection happens when germs like bacteria and viruses get in your middle ear and cause trouble. Read this article to find out more.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/ear-infection.html/86a8006f-2941-43ac-b7fa-3ff5dba7527c
What's Earwax?Why do our ears make earwax? Find out in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/earwax.html/3d67bbd9-cd08-4fda-854f-abff1d1c67a8
Your EarsNow hear this! Here's an article about ears. Find out how your amazing ears do their amazing job.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/ears.html/0f4e16f5-a934-4961-a1b7-12e8f53619f4
kh:age-allAgesOrAgeAgnostickh:clinicalDesignation-generalPediatricskh:clinicalDesignation-otolaryngologyEarNoseThroatkh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-generalPediatricsBacterial & Viral Infectionshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/infections/bacterial-viral/401507d2-7822-44aa-8109-e54dc4c18e61Ear Infectionshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/infections/ear/d3a7b17b-0c4c-4545-99d6-78e826d4ada6https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/illustrations/SwimEarPR-A-enIL.jpg