Swimmer's Ear : Otitis Externa


Swimmer's Ear is inflammation of the external ear canal, this inflammation in the canal is causing pain. Swimmer's ear is also known as otitis externa.







As the name suggests, this often occurs when children have gone swimming or have been playing in the bathtub, water often gets into the ear, which can lead to a build-up of moisture and a great breeding ground for infection.


Children will usually present with the following symptoms:

  • Mild infections: Itching or pain in the ear

  • Moderate infections: loss of hearing from the inflammation of the ear canal.

At times there may be discharge that is present from the ear due to inflammation and debris from the infection.


Diagnosis is made by examination using an otoscope.


There are many different types of antibiotics that can be used to treat Otitis externa. With mild to moderate infections most physicians will lean towards ear drops in the affected ear.


"Sometimes you will need to insert a gauze wick into your child's ear to make sure the drops reach the site of the swelling" recommended by Healthy Children Organization.


While under treatment patients should avoid water exposure to the ears, if swimming is a must, then wear earplugs.


Other things that can help at home include using diluted isopropyl alcohol, diluted hydrogen peroxide at home after a swimming session. Ask your physician for details on how and when to use this.

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