Summer is in full swing! Families are spending more time in the pool and at the beach enjoying the Florida sunshine. Unfortunately, children and teenagers have the highest risk of developing swimmer’s ear during water-related activities. Swimmer’s ear is a type of infection that develops as a result of water or moisture accumulating in the ear canals, which allows for the growth of bacteria or fungus in the ear canal. Common symptoms associated with swimmer’s ear include itchiness in the ear canal, minor or severe pain, difficulty hearing and fluid draining from the ear.
Fortunately, there are many precautions you can take to lower your risk of developing swimmer’s ear this season:
- Wear ear plugs or swim caps to prevent water from entering the ear canal.
- Thoroughly dry the ears with a towel and allow water to drain after swimming.
- Avoid removing ear wax, as it creates a protective barrier to prevent infection.
- Do not put small objects into the ear – such as cotton swabs or fingers.
Unfortunately, swimmer’s ear may occur even if preventive steps are taken. But luckily, there are many treatment options available. If you suspect that your child has developed swimmer’s ear, it is important to visit an ENT physician to ensure that the eardrum has not been perforated or punctured. Once your physician indicates that the ear does not have any holes, they may decide to gently clean the ear canal and administer drops to stop the growth of the bacterial infection. If the infection is severe, antibiotics are typically prescribed to clear the site of the infection. The key to healing fast is to identify the infection and seek treatment as early as possible.
After treatment, the infection normally clears up after 7-10 days. However, if symptoms persist, a follow-up appointment should be scheduled, as this could signal long-term swimmer’s ear or another kind of bacterial infection.
If you, or one of your family members suffers from swimmer’s ear this summer, board-certified physicians at Florida E.N.T. & Allergy are available at 13 locations across the Tampa Bay area to accurately diagnose and treat the infection quickly. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please call (813) 879-8045 or visit Florida E.N.T. & Allergy online at https://floridaentandallergy.com/contact/schedule-an-appointment/
The physicians of Florida E.N.T. & Allergy have served the Tampa Bay community for over 45 years. Their board certified physicians have completed extensive education and clinical training as well as specialized training in their area(s) of expertise. From pediatric allergies to fitting hearing aids, their caring and experienced physicians specialize in ear, nose and throat care for the entire family using comprehensive, cutting edge technologies.