July 20, 2006
With children flocking to swimming pools and the ocean to beat the summer heat, pediatricians at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) have noticed a recent increase in otitis externa or “swimmer’s ear.”
“Swimmer’s ear” can be caused by excess water entering the ear canal resulting in redness, swelling, pain and itching. If not treated, the condition becomes acute in one to three days. Symptoms can include fever, dizziness, drainage and possible hearing loss.
Though known as “swimmer’s ear,” otitis externa can also be caused by use of earplugs, stereo headphones inserted into the ear, harsh cleaning of the ear canal, or soaps, shampoos and bubble baths.
Parents can help prevent “swimmer’s ear” by using over-the-counter isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on a cotton applicator to gently clean their children's ear canal following time in the water. Use of non-prescription ear drops, which contain half strength vinegar, can also help in preventing an infection. Parents are encouraged to check that proper chlorine levels are being maintained at public swimming pools; keep children away from dirty water areas; avoid prolonged periods of swimming; and make sure that ears are dried after leaving the water. Children can gently dry their ears with a towel and help water run out of the ears by turning their heads to the side. A hair dryer may be used to dry excess water in the outer ear.
Following a diagnosis of "swimmer's ear," children should avoid getting water in the ear throughout the course of treatment, approximately seven to 10 days.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more information or to interview a CHOC pediatrician, please contact the CHOC Public Relations Department at 714-532-8680.
Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2014-2015) and a 2013 Leapfrog Top Hospital for the highest quality of care, Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children's) is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach, education and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC’s regional health care network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, many primary and specialty care clinics, a pediatric residency program, and four clinical centers of excellence - the CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes.. CHOC earned the Gold Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction, and was awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for nursing excellence. Recognized for extraordinary commitment to high-quality critical care standards, CHOC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first in the United States to earn the Beacon Award for Pediatric Critical Care Excellence.
Denise Almazan, Director of Public Relations
phone: (714) 509-8680