Is Swimmer’s Ear Causing Your Child’s Ear Pain?

The symptoms of swimmer’s ear, What to do about swimmer’s ear, Is Swimmer’s Ear Causing Your Child’s Ear Pain?

Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal that can affect children, teens, or adults. When moisture gets trapped in the ear, bacteria can grow and cause infection. Itching, pain, and muffled hearing can all be signs of swimmer’s ear. It’s a common ear infection that affects children every summer when swimming season comes around.

As the name suggests, spending a lot of time in the water can cause swimmer’s ear, but that isn’t the only cause. Lakes or the ocean can have higher levels of bacteria than well-maintained swimming pools, and bacteria can get trapped in cuts or abrasions in the ear canal.

Putting things inside the ear canal, like cotton swabs or ear buds, can cause abrasions that make infection more likely. Scratching inside your ears can lead to small breaks in your skin where bacteria can get in.

Children have narrow ear canals that can make it easier for water to get trapped, and swimmer’s ear is a common ear infection many kids face. At First Choice Urgent Care, Yadwinder Kang, MD, and his team regularly treat swimmer’s ear and help kids feel better. Call today to learn more.

The symptoms of swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear often starts with mild symptoms, like discomfort and itching. Even if your child shows mild symptoms of swimmer’s ear, the infection can get more serious if it’s left untreated. If you notice any of the following symptoms, make an appointment for your child at First Choice Urgent Care.

Mild symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:

Mild swimmer’s ear can progress to become moderate or advanced if left untreated and lead to more problematic symptoms. More serious symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:

If your child is complaining of ear pain and you think it might be swimmer’s ear, making an appointment is the first step to treating the infection. While serious complications are unlikely, swimmer’s ear can lead to temporary hearing loss, more widespread infection, or bone or cartilage damage.

What to do about swimmer’s ear

The team at First Choice Urgent Care diagnoses swimmer’s ear with an in-office examination and discussion of your child’s symptoms. Dr. Kang may look into the ear canal with a lighted scope to check for inflammation. Skin inside the ear may be red, flaky, or swollen.

Dr. Kang may clean the outer ear canal and prescribe ear drops to help clear the infection. Ear drops are often a combination of antibiotic and steroid medication. Antibiotics fight bacteria and steroids can reduce inflammation.

You’ll need to follow the doctor’s directions and put the ear drops in your child’s ear until the infection heals. Have your child lie on his or her side when you put the drops in, so the medication can travel through the ear canal. If ear drops are cold, you can warm the bottle in your hands before administering the drops.

To avoid swimmer’s ear in the future, follow a few steps to protect your kid’s ears. Make sure to keep his or her ears dry and let any excess water drain out after swimming or bathing. Be sure to keep objects like cotton swabs and paper clips from entering the ear canal, and protect ears from irritants.

If your child has an ear infection, it could be swimmer’s ear. Don’t let red, itchy, or sore ears go untreated. Most cases of swimmer’s ear are mild, and resolve quickly with proper treatment.  Find prompt, effective care for swimmer’s ear at First Choice Urgent Care. Call our office or request an appointment online today.

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