For children like 5-year-old Charlie Armstrong, the excitement of diving into the pool on a warm summer day is a seasonal highlight. But the fun can quickly turn to pain when water gets trapped in their ears, leading to discomfort and potentially an infection known as swimmer's ear. To prevent these issues, Charlie's doctor fitted him with swim ear plugs. So, when should children wear ear plugs, and do all children need them?
1.Preventing Swimmer's Ear:
Swimmer's ear, or otitis externa, is an outer ear infection that occurs when water stays in the ear canal for too long, allowing germs to grow and cause an infection. Symptoms can include itchiness, swelling, redness, pain, and discharge. To prevent swimmer's ear, health care providers recommend keeping your child's ears as dry as possible while swimming and ensuring they are thoroughly dried afterward. Use a towel and tilt their head to help water escape the ear canal. Avoid inserting anything into your child's ear, such as cotton swabs or fingers, and do not attempt to remove earwax, which actually helps protect against infection. If you suspect an earwax buildup, consult your health care provider for safe removal methods.
2.The Benefits of Wearing Ear Plugs:
While keeping your child's ears dry during swimming can reduce the risk of infection, it doesn't necessarily mean they need to wear ear plugs every time they swim. Infections are more likely to occur in untreated waters like lakes or oceans, where germs are more prevalent. Children like Charlie, who have a history of middle ear infections, may still have tubes in their ears from surgery to reduce recurrent infections. Wearing ear plugs can help protect these ears and reduce pain while swimming, ensuring your child can enjoy their summer days to the fullest.
Swim ear plugs can be an essential tool in protecting your child's ears from pain and infection, particularly if they have a history of ear infections or are swimming in untreated waters. Consult with your child's doctor to determine whether swim ear plugs are a suitable option and to ensure proper fitting. By taking these precautions, you can help your child enjoy their time in the water without the worry of ear discomfort or infection.