Health News: Swimmer's Ear

9:06 AM, Jul 12, 2011   |    comments
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Summer is the season of fun -- and for many people that means "swimming, but a painful infection can leave you high and dry.

The CDC says every year swimmer's ear leads to 2.4 million visits to the doctor.

Swimming provides the perfect opportunity for water to get trapped inside the ear canal.

If your child is spending a lot of time in the water this summer here's a simple test parents can do if there's ear pain.

Steven Singer, M.D. from Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Florida says: "If the mother or father can take the ear and just wiggle the ear... in a swimmer's ear, that'll cause a significant amount of pain."

Swimming in untreated water like an ocean of lake is more likely to cause an infection. Clearing water out of the ear canal can prevent it from setting in. So, dry your ears after swimming or showering.

While Dr. Singer uses a special instrument in his office... here's an easy thing to do at home.

Steven Singer, M.D. from Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Florida says: "You can put some alcohol on a cotton ball, tilt the child's head, and just slowly drip it into the ear, then raise up."

He also recommends blowing warm air from a dryer into your ear to get the water out.

But if ears become swollen painful or have fluid draining...you need to get to a doctor for prescription drops.

A lot of people think swimmer's ear is a mild condition that goes away on its own....it does not. And while children were the focus of this report, the CDC says more than half of these reported infections are in adults.

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