Get in the swim, not swimmer's ear

Swimmer's ear can be avoided by draining excess water from ears and drying them thoroughly.
If your child spends a lot of time in the water, he could be susceptible to swimmer's ear.

Swimmer's ear, an infection of the ear canal, occurs when moisture breaks down the skin in the ear canal, allowing bacteria or fungi to penetrate the area.

The condition can be painful, says Daniel Bruegger, chief of ear, nose and throat services at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City. It's important to get your child to a doctor for treatment if you suspect swimmer's ear.

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The most common symptom is pain in the ear, which can be severe. You may also notice abnormal discharge from the ear.

To prevent swimmer's ear, encourage your child to dry her ears thoroughly and to turn her head to the side to help water drain from the ear.

Over-the-counter ear drops can also be effective, but they should not be used in children who have ear tubes.

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