ANNOUNCER: Summer's here and, for many people, that means pool time! But it also means watching out for â€˜swimmer's ear - that's an infection in and around the ear canal. The problems start when water washes away ear wax â€“ your ear's natural protection.
Robin Dyleski, MD, Children's Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon : When the ear canal becomes moistened from swimming, it loses its acidic environment. Bacteria can grow on and in the skin in the ear canal, and this can become extremely painful.
ANNOUNCER: Children are especially susceptible to swimmer's ear.
Robin Dyleski, MD, Children's Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon : Children dive in the water, play, splash, get their head wet all the time. In general, adults, although they may do those things too, tend to do it less number of hours per day.
ANNOUNCER: The symptoms of swimmer's ear can include itching, a sense of ear-blockage as well as pain. The good news is you can usually get fast relief.
Robin Dyleski, MD, Children's Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon : The treatment for the swimmer's ear is topical ear -- antibiotic ear drops. Almost all patients who have a swimmer's ear will respond within 48 hours with a marked improvement in their discomfort.
ANNOUNCER: Swimmer's ear should always be fully treated to keep the infection from spreading and becoming more serious.
Robin Dyleski, MD, Children's Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon : It is very important to use the drops for the entire time that your doctor has prescribed them, so that the infection will be completely cured.
ANNOUNCER: And many doctors say you should wait seven â€“ to â€“ ten days after treatment begins for swimmer's ear before going back into the water. Here are a few simple precautions to avoid infections in the first place.
One - use ear plugs to keep water from getting inside the ear while swimming.
Two â€“ use a hair dryer set on low, about six to eight inches from the ear, to help dry any moisutre in the ear canal after swimming.
Three - make your own preventive solution by mixing equal parts of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar and putting three to four drops in each ear after swimming. The vinegar restores the natural acidity of the ear canal, making it less susceptible to infection while the alcohol dries out the ear.
So when getting wet this summer, be sure to keep an eye on your ears! Thanks for joining us on Once Daily!