Summer is coming which means its time for swimmer's ear. This is the casual name for an infection called otitis externa, which is an infection of the ear and outer ear canal.
The tell tale signs you kid has it a red or inflamed appearance to the ear. It can also be very itchy and your kid won't stop scratching it. Moving the head can be difficult. Even just touching the area can cause a kid to yelp. In serious cases there may be pus draining from ear.
This kind of otitisis often caused by infection with a germ called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This germ is everywhere â€“ including ins oil and water. It can only be seen with a microscope. Anyone can get it but kids are more prone to getting it.
Most kids get it by swimming in the contaminated water. However you can also get it by handling a contaminated object. Contaminated object could be absolutely anything and not necessarily anything that was around the pool either. The symptoms usually begin within a few days of contact with the bacteria.
So0me of the more common symptoms of swimmer'sear include diminished hearing, pus draining, fever, pain radiating to the neck face or side of the neck. Your child may also complain that the ear feels block or full and the ear may even appear to be distended from the head. The lymph nodes may also appear to be swollen. An ordinary ear infection is not the same as Swimmer's Ear. If you can wiggle or press the outer ear without pain or discomfort then it is probably an ordinary infection. If pulling on the ear causes a problem then it is the swimmer's ear infection.
To prevent it dry your kid's ears completely after swimming. Applying several drops of an alcohol based ear product can also help. I actually blow dry the insides of my kid's ears out with a blowdryer.
Another way to prevent them is simply stay out of polluted rivers, ponds or streams and pools that are known for being unsanitary.
It also helps to minimize your use of Q Tips. Putting anything in the ear can make infections worse. Even sterile cotton swabs can scratch the inside of the ear and cause and infection to grow. You can even end up pushing germs deeper inside the ear canal if you are not careful. You should also avoid putting hot olive oil or anything else like that in the child's ear as this problem is not the same as real block with earwax.
Sometimes you can treat an infection that sets in with antibiotic ear drops or mildly acidic solution such as boric or acetic acid.