What's Going Around? Swimmer's Ear


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A bit of water in the ear after a day at the pool is common, but what happens when there is also pain? It could be diagnosed as what's going around this week: swimmer's ear. Medical experts say some people are much more sensitive and susceptible to the bacterial infection than others.

Swimmer's ear comes with pain that lasts for a few hours and requires a medical provider look inside the ear. It’s caused by a bacterial infection and usually treated by prescription ear drops that contain an antibiotic. Dr. Mike Patrick, an emergency medicine expert from Nationwide Children’s Hospital said often a steroid helps too, “So the steroid helps with the swelling and pain and the antibiotic takes care of the bacteria part of it."

Dr. Mike said parents should also monitor kids for fever-- which could signal a middle ear infection. Ear drops are typically prescribed for use between five to seven days... most people feel better within two or three days.

You can prevent swimmer's ear by cutting back on pool days. After treating problems with the infection, try implementing breaks during swim days to allow the ears to dry. Dr. Mike said ear plugs, whether custom made or purchased off the shelf, can be helpful.