How to Make Sure that Swimmer's Ear Doesn't Strike Your Child This Summer

Follow these tips to keep your child comfortable after a day at the pool, lake, or beach

Baby Sitting on Beach / How to Make Sure that Swimmer's Ear Doesn't Strike Your Child This Summer
Image: Pexels
June 21, 2017

Happy summer! For many people, the coming of this season means vacations to beach or lake houses for fun in the sun and water. For children, however, playing in the water can result in a painful infection known as swimmer's ear.

This infection—known to healthcare professionals as otitis externa—happens when water stays in the ear after swimming. According to Texas A&M College of Nursing Clinical Assistant Professor Kara Jones-Schubart, this creates an environment fertile for bacteria.

Though Jones-Schubart notes that there are other ways the condition can develop, this is the most common one.

Symptoms and Treatment

The following symptoms can indicate the presence of swimmer's ear:

  • Redness, warmness, and pain in the outer ear
  • Tenderness in parts of the ear when touched or moved
  • Feelings of fullness, itchiness, and irritation in the ear

It is relatively simple to treat most cases of swimmer's ear: doctors usually prescribe eardrops, though a combination of drops and oral antibiotics may be necessary in severe cases.


As with other infections, the best way to handle a swimmer's ear infection is to avoid getting it in the first place.

"Many people who swim often realize that ear plugs are extremely beneficial when you go swimming," Jones-Schubart said. "There are also some over-the-counter solutions that you can use to help rinse out everything in your ear and break up any blockage."

Other prevention tips include:

  • Using a hair dryer on a low setting to dry out ears after swimming
  • A homemade preventive eardrop solution can be used before and after swimming for children without punctured eardrums. This solution would consist of mixing one part white vinegar and one part rubbing alcohol and then pouring one teaspoon into each ear, letting it drain out again afterward
  • Avoiding putting foreign objects—including cotton swabs—into the ear
Get Connected with Consumer Connections

Stay up-to-date about issues that really matter! Get the Consumer Connections newsletter!

We're committed to providing you with information you need to make you a better, more informed consumer. Whether it's a vehicle recall, a product recall, or a new scam, we feature it in Consumer Connections.

So why not give it a try? Go on. All of your friends are doing it. It's completely free and comes just once a week.

While it can be part of a balanced and nutritious diet, grapefruit can have serious consequences when taken with certain medications. Currently, there are more than fifty prescription and over-the-counter drugs known to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that can have negative interactions with this fruit.

U.S. nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are among the most safely packaged consumer products in the world. Most of these OTC products, by law, are sealed in tamper-evident packaging for your protection. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a 100-percent tamper-proof package.

Since fresh produce is often grown in uncontrolled environments, there is always a chance of contamination. Fruits and vegetables can come into contact with harmful bacteria in soil or water, or it could become tainted during the harvesting or storage process. Ingesting contaminated produce can lead to many foodborne illnesses. Follow these recommendations to ensure you're protecting yourself and your family.

You see a doctor in the belief that he or she is in your insurer's network, only to find out afterward that the doctor was out-of-network when you get a huge bill. Don't give up! As frustrating as insurance can be, it's a necessary evil, and there are steps you can take to make sure that you spend as little as possible even when your doctor is out-of-network.