With kids hitting the pools and beaches to beat the summer heat, some of our pediatricians are seeing an increase in otitis externa, or “swimmer’s ear.” This is caused by excess water entering the ear canal resulting in redness, swelling, pain and itching. It can also be caused by use of ear plugs, headphones inserted into the ear, harsh cleaning of the ear canal, or soaps, shampoos and bubble baths.
Parents can help prevent “swimmer’s ear” by using rubbing alcohol on a cotton applicator to gently clean their children’s ear canals following time in the water. Use of non-prescription ear drops, which contain half-strength vinegar, can help prevent an infection. Parents should also check chlorine levels in public pools; keep their kids away from dirty water areas; limit their children’s time in the water; and make sure to dry their kids’ ears after time in the pool or ocean.