Acute otitis externa, also known as swimmer’s ear or an outer ear infection, is a common infection of the ear canal often caused by excess moisture during the summertime after a trip to the pool, lake, or beach. Symptoms of this infection include ear pain, itchiness, drainage from the ear, a clogged feeling in the ear, decreased hearing, redness or swelling around the ear, and swollen lymph nodes around the neck. You can take a few simple precautions to avoid this painful infection and a trip to the doctor:
· Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal – Items like fingers, cotton swabs, bobby pins, or other foreign objects can cause scratches or cuts of the ear canal skin leading to infection.
· Allow the ear to use its natural self-cleaning and self-drying function – Ear wax is a natural protective barrier to bacterial invasion.
· Avoid swimming in polluted or unknown bodies of water – Bacteria in the water coupled with excess water in the ear is the perfect combination for bacteria to grow.
· Plug them up – Wear disposable earplugs for swimming in untreated (lake and ocean) water.
· Dry them out - When done swimming use a towel to dry the ears. You can also use a small ear dryer if you are prone to excessive water buildup. Use of acetic acid (vinegar) or alcohol drops can also help dry the ear.
Luckily, swimmer’s ear is a treatable condition, which typically clears up with a 7-10 day course of ear drop antibiotics. If you think your kiddo may be suffering from an ear infection, contact Dr. Kubala at 972-543-1250 to schedule an evaluation.
Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery is a joint venture hospital owned by Texas Health Resources and physicians dedicated to the community and meets the definition under federal law of a physician owned hospital. Physicians on the medical staff are not employees or agents of Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery. They are independent solo practitioners or members/agents of an independent physician group.