Swimmer’s Ear: What You Need To Know About Otitis Externa In Children

swimmer's ear

The ear canal is the passage which carries the sound from external source straight to the eardrum. Infection  in that region can be caused through different types of fungi or bacteria, and is known as Otitis Externa or the Swimmer’s Ear. It is quite common in children who spend a lot of time playing with water. Excessive moisture in the ear can cause irritation and break down skin in the canal, allowing the fungi and bacteria to penetrate. Mostly, it happens during the summer time, but it’s not only confined to water. Putting foreign objects into the ear, vigorous ear cleaning with cotton swabs and scratching the ear canal or dry skin can also lead to breaking down of the skin. Also, someone with middle ear infection can be affected with it. Such a condition needs to be identified at the earliest.

How To Detect A Swimmer’s Ear

Pain in the ears is the first symptom of Otitis Externa and it can get worse if the ear is pressed on. Chewing can also become painful with swelling of the ear canal, making the child feel uncomfortable. The lymph nodes around the ear may expand and the outer ear may look swollen or red. In some cases, there’s a discharge from the ear canal as well. Hearing may also be affected if pus blocks the passage of sound.

Is It Avoidable?

Kids who swim a lot need to be provided with over-the-counter drops of a dilute solution of alcohol or acetic acid in the ears. It should be done under the guidance of a senior person, using cotton-tipped swabs.

How To Treat Otitis Externa

Depending upon how severe and painful the infection is, treatment can vary. Ear drops may be initially prescribed to be given several times a day. In extreme cases, the doctor may require to remove pus or other buildup from the ear with suction or cleaning. Oral antibiotics may be given in severe conditions where normal medications don’t work. The ENT specialist may also run a few tests on the ear discharge to ascertain what sort of fungi or bacteria causes the problem.

Pain relievers can manage to relieve pain for a temporary period, but a prescribed medicine may be required by an expert, in severe conditions. Once the treatment commences, your child will feel better in a couple of days. This condition is generally cured within a week or 10 days from the starting day of treatment.

Immediate attention should be given to ear infection in a child, since the pain can get worse with time and the infection can spread quickly. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen may alleviate the pain, but that is temporary. If you are making use of oral antibiotics or ear drops, make sure to follow the instructions of health care provider. During the entire course of the treatment, make sure your kid is not playing around water. When bathing or showering, make use of a soft cotton ball as an earplug to protect the outer as well as inner ear.