|Ear - Swimmer's|
|Back to Index|
|Does this describe your child's symptoms?|
Return to School
|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MILD SWIMMER'S EAR|
- White Vinegar Rinses:
- Rinse the ear canals twice a day with ½ strength white vinegar (dilute it with equal parts warm water).
- Start by having your child lie down with the affected ear upward.
- Fill the ear canal.
- Wait 5 minutes, then remove the vinegar rinse by turning the head to the side and moving the ear. (Exception: ear tubes or hole in eardrum.)
- Reason: restores the normal acid pH of the ear canal and reduces swelling.
- Continue until the ear canal returns to normal.
- Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen for pain relief.
- Local Heat: If pain is moderate to severe, apply a heating pad (set on low) or hot water bottle to outer ear for 20 minutes (caution: avoid burns). This will also increase drainage.
- Reduce Swimming Times: Try to avoid swimming until symptoms are gone. If on a swim team, it's usually OK to continue. Swimming may slow recovery, but causes no serious harm.
- Contagiousness: Swimmer's ear is not contagious.
- Expected Course: With treatment, symptoms should be improved in 3 days and resolved in 7 days.
- Prevention of Recurrences:
- Try to keep the ear canals dry.
- After showers, hair washing, and swimming, help the water run out by turning the head.
- Avoid cotton swabs. (Reason: Packs in the earwax. The wax buildup then traps water behind it).
- If swimmer's ear is a repeated problem, rinse the ear canals after swimming with a white vinegar-rubbing alcohol solution (equal parts of each).
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Ear symptoms last over 7 days on treatment
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/15/2011
Last Revised: 8/1/2011
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.