How to prevent and treat swimmer’s ear

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – For many families, summer is all about spending as much time as possible in the pool or lake. If your kids are in the water a lot, they may suffer from a common ear infection known as swimmer’s ear. Thankfully, there are some tips to ease the pain.

Dr. Amit Patel, a physician at Children’s Hospital, says kids that spend a lot of time in the water are more likely to get swimmer’s ear. However, anything that causes a break in the skin of the ear canal can allow bacteria to come in and lead to an infection.

Signs and symptoms include ear pain that can get worse when the outer part of the ear is pulled or pressed on, ear pain when chewing, redness or swelling of the ear, and discharge from the ear canal.

To prevent swimmer’s ear, use ear drops after swimming (only for kids without tubes), dry ears completely with a towel, and turn head from side to side to allow water to drain. Never let kids clean their ears themselves and never put objects into a child’s ear, including cotton swabs.

Ear infections should be treated by a doctor. If left untreated, the ear pain will get worse and infection may spread. For severe infections, oral antibiotics might be prescribed, and your child’s doctor may suggest giving child ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain.

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