Did you know, one of the most common diagnoses made in pediatrics during this time of year is: Otitis Externa? That’s just a fancy way of saying swimmer’s ear and it is extremely common in children ages 2-14.
Here is what it is: It happens when water gets stuck in your ear canal and causes a mild to moderate infection with significant irritation. It can be caused by a fungus but most commonly, it is a bacterial infection called Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus, two common bacterias that are often found in water of all sorts - pools, lakes, oceans and even hot tubs!
What it looks like and when to suspect it: Pain and pulling at the ear, red/inflamed ear, fluid and draining of the ear that results in itching and irritation right after a day of swimming.
Here is how long it takes to cure it: Although you may start feeling better 2-3 days after treatment is initiated, it will usually take 7-10 days to completely cure the infection.
Here is how you get rid of it: It can be treated with prescription ear drops including Ofloxacin 0.3% solution (Floxin Otic) and Ciprofloxacin 0.3% and hydrocortisone suspension (Cipro HC Otic).
How to avoid it: Did you know this can be easily avoided with a very simple home remedy that dries out the ear? This home remedy is great if you have kiddos that suffer from ear infections on a regular basis! Try this either before or after a day in the water, use 1 part white vinegar to 1 part rubbing alcohol. This combination promotes drying and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.
Do not attempt this if you have a ruptured ear drum.
I hope this article helps you save time, money and a doctor's appointment this summer. Be safe out there and have a great time soaking up the sun!
Thanks for reading!