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Summertime Tips – Swimmers Ear Prevention

Texas Summer means Texas Sun and Texas HOT.

When the temperatures go up, our kids will want to submerse themselves in a pool to cool down.  Here is a reminder to keep our summer fun and carefree:

Swimmers Ear is a term used to describe otitis externa.  Otitis externa refers to inflammation and often infection of the external ear canal.  One of the leading causes of otitis externa is from swimming/water exposure.  Children will present with ear pain that is painful when touching the ear lobe, an itchy sensation inside the ear, and discharge/pus from the affected ear.  In severe cases, the child may also have fever, swelling, and redness of the ear lobe.

To prevent this damper on summer fun, a simple and effective remedy may be regularly used after each swim/water event.  A combination of 50:50 rubbing alcohol and white vinegar may be mixed and then applied as a few drops into both ears after time spent in water.  Please note that this mixture is for preventiononly and NOT for treatment.  Do NOT apply this home remedy if your child has any symptoms suggestive of otitis externa, ear tubes in place, or recent ear tubes surgery.  When in doubt, do not use – and call our office for an appointment.

If the home remedy hasn’t been used and you suspect otitis externa, please call our office for an appointment to be seen.  Depending on the severity, we may prescribe a topical medication to treat otitis externa.

Pain reducers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen will also be helpful until the topical medication begins to effectively treat the inflammation and infection.

During treatment of otitis externa, it is ideal to not return to swimming until treatment has been completed, which normally takes 7-10 days.

West Plano Pediatrics wishes everyone a fun and carefree summer!

Article written by Dr. Elizabeth Leon

Dr. Elizabeth Leon established West Plano Pediatrics in 1995. She graduated from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, and completed her residency at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. She is board certified in pediatrics and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Leon has over 23 years of experience as a pediatrician in the community, and shares her knowledge through her blogs. Her blogs include topics such as financial awareness, memory making ideas, bike safety, and reasons not to start vaping.