During the summer, kids look forward to spending as much time in the pool as possible. Between swim lessons and play dates, it’s possible for children to spend hours each day in water. While swimming is great exercise and an excellent way for kids to stay active, it can also lead to an infection known commonly as swimmer’s ear.
What is swimmer’s ear?
Defined as an infection in the outer ear canal, swimmer’s ear runs from the eardrum to the outside of the head. After swimming, it’s common for water to remain in your child’s ear canal, which can create a moist environment that invites bacterial growth. Another way swimmer’s ear can occur is by putting fingers, cotton swabs or other objects in the ear that may damage the thin layer of skin that lines the ear canal.
What are the symptoms?
Typically mild at first, swimmer’s ear symptoms tend to get worse when left untreated. Mild symptoms include itching inside the ear canal, slight redness inside the ear, mild discomfort and drainage of clear, odorless fluid. However, as symptoms worsen, look for worsening pain, discharge of pus, muffled hearing and a fullness feeling inside the ear. Worst-case symptoms are swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, fever and severe pain that may radiate to the face, neck or side of the head.
How is swimmer’s ear diagnosed?
No matter how severe the symptoms, it’s a good idea to see a provider who can properly assess the infection before it gets any worse. A doctor will likely examine your child’s ear canal with a lighted instrument. He or she will also take a look at the eardrum to ensure it’s not torn or damaged.
How do I treat swimmer’s ear?
Most cases of swimmer’s ear will go away with eardrops; however, your child’s doctor may suggest oral antibiotics if the infection doesn’t respond to the eardrops.
If you believe your child has swimmer’s ear, consider talking with a trained medical professional at Denton Regional Urgent Care Center. We offer convenient hours and online check-in to provide you a quick and easy experience.
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.