Summer is here and school is out, which means that many children will spend the long, hot days swimming in the nearest pool. While it’s a great way to cool off, for some, it can end with a call to a physician.

Summer is here and school is out, which means that many children will spend the long, hot days swimming in the nearest pool. While it’s a great way to cool off, for some, it can end with a call to a physician.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimmer’s ear impacts more than 2.4 million people each year. The outer-ear infection, which is caused by contaminated water that remains in the ear after swimming, can cause extreme pain. 

While there’s no way to predict when swimmer’s ear will strike, an EVMS expert says there are preventive measures swimmers can take to reduce their risk. “One simple home remedy is to flush the ear with a mixture of equal parts of white vinegar and alcohol,” says Barry Strasnick, MD, Professor and Chair of Otolaryngology. “The mixture removes debris from the ear canal and changed the PH to a more acidic nature which tends to reduce bacterial growth.”

If the infection has already set in and the swimmer is experiencing symptoms like itchiness, pain or drainage, Dr. Strasnick says prescription ear drops and steroids may be necessary. If symptoms persist for more than a week, a follow-up visit is recommended.

To learn more about swimmer’s ear and preventive measures, make an appointment with Dr. Strasnick’s team by calling 757.388.6200 or visit EVMS Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons online.