A Pain In the Ear: Identifying and Treating Swimmer's Ear
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By Children's Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates
May 18, 2016
Category: ENT
Tags: Swimmer's Ear  

Your Orlando physicians have what you need to know about this ear infection.
 
The best way to cool off during warm weather is by taking a swim—everyone knows that. But if your child starts complaining of pain and heat in their ear, those swims could have also caused them some harm. Your Orlando, FL doctors—Dr. Cheryl Cotter, Dr. James Kosko, Swimmers EarDr. Eric Jaryszak and Dr. Joshua Gottschall of Children's Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates—want you to know more about swimmer’s ear and how it can affect your child.
 
What Is Swimmer’s Ear?
 
When water gets trapped in the ear—after swimming, bathing or being in any moist environment—bacteria that live normally in your child’s ears can multiply. This leads to an infection going from the eardrum to the outside of the head, and this is swimmer’s ear. But while trapped moisture is the most common cause of swimmer’s ear, it can also be caused by:

  • Fungal infections
  • Coming in contact with excessive bacteria , as is sometimes found in polluted or hot tub water
  • Excessively cleaning the ear canal, especially with cotton swabs
  • Hair spray or hair dye getting into the ear canal
  • Being cut in the ear canal
  • Other skin conditions that affect the area, such as eczema or seborrhea

The infection causes the ear to become irritated and inflamed, so the most common symptoms are itching in the ear canal and pain that worsens when your child tugs on their outer ear. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Drainage
  • Fever
  • Decreased hearing
  • Feeling as though the ear is blocked or full
  • Intense pain that radiates into the neck, face or side of the head
  • Redness and swelling of the skin around the ear and the upper neck

How Is It Treated?
 
Your child’s Orlando pediatric ENT will often prescribe ear drops if the infection is still in its early stages. These will keep your child’s ear dry and keep any new bacteria from growing. If the infection is more severe, a topical antibiotic may be prescribed and will often be applied using a sponge or wick. Topical antibiotics will also be used if your child has or ever has had a perforated eardrum. Oral antibiotics will be needed if the infection has spread beyond the ear canal, but with proper treatment, most infections should clear in 7-10 days.
 
If left untreated swimmer’s ear could lead to reoccurring ear infections, bone and cartilage damage and hearing loss. So if your child is exhibiting any of the symptoms above, or if they are experiencing any sort of pain, contact the doctors of Children's Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates in Orlando, FL. Call (407) 253-1000 today and get your child back to being their happy, healthy self!

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