Swimmer's Ear Basics Every Mom Should Know

It’s no secret that children love swimming during the summer time. But if your child is playing in the water a lot, he or she is at risk of getting swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear is an inflammation, irritation or infection of the external ear canal. It happens when water remains trapped in the ear canal, and it creates a moist environment for bacterial growth.

In most cases, you will need a prescription for ear drops to clear the infection, so don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.

Most Common Symptoms
  • Redness of the outer ear
  • Itching in the ear
  • Pain, especially when touching or wiggling the ear lobe, which may spread to the neck, face or side of the head
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Swollen glands in the upper neck or around the ear
  • Swollen ear canal
  • Muffled hearing or hearing loss
  • Full or plugged-up feeling in the ear
  • Fever

Ways to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear
  • Use ear plugs for swimming or bathing.
  • After swimming, tilt your head to each side to help drain water.
  • You may also use a hair dryer set to low or cool setting. Hold the dryer at least 12 inches from your head. Wave the dryer slowly back and forth. Don't hold it still.
  • Don't clean inside the ear canal with cotton swabs to remove earwax. This can push dirt and ear wax further into the ear canal, which can cause irritation and infection.

How Gwinnett Medical Center Can Help

At the Strickland Family Medicine Center, our family practice physicians treat the whole family, from newborn to geriatrics. For more information or an appointment, call 678-312-0400.


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