Simple Tips To Prevent Swimmer’s Ear and Middle Ear Infections
In an article we recently published, Swimmer’s Ear vs. Middle Ear Infection, we described the two types of ear infections and the differences between them. In this article, we’re going to elaborate on these ear infection types by describing a few simple ways you can prevent your children from getting them.
Swimmer’s Ear Prevention
As the name suggests, swimmer’s ear is most frequently caused by swimming. Particularly during the summer months, swimmer’s ear is a prevalent condition among children. Fortunately, swimmer’s ear prevention can be as simple as taking a few precautionary measures.
1. After your child swims or showers, tilt his or her head to each side to allow water inside the ears to drain. Following this step, use a towel to dry his or her ears thoroughly.
2. Contrary to popular belief, ear plugs may actually irritate your child’s ear canal and cause inflammation. When possible, have your child wear a bathing cap that covers his or her ears while swimming instead.
3. After your child is done swimming, clean his or her ears by pouring a single teaspoon mixture of equal parts isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar into the ear canal. After allowing the solution to reach the bottom of the canal, tilt his or her head to allow the solution to drain.
4. Avoid using cotton swabs or any other foreign object to clean the inside of your child’s ear. In many instances, this will further clog his or her ear and/or irritate the ear canal.
Middle Ear Infection Prevention
Middle ear infections differ from swimmer’s ear in that they occur when a bacterial or viral infection occurs inside your ear, often as a result of a blockage in your eustachian tube. The eustachian tube is a passage between the back of your throat and middle ear that aligns your ear pressure with external air pressure and allows fluid from your ears to drain down your throat. It can become congested from allergies, the common cold, and a variety of other sources. Middle ear infections are most common in children with symptoms including ear pain, hearing difficulty, headaches, and a fever. While they are indirect, a few preventative measures can decrease your child’s likelihood of developing a middle ear infection.
1. Your child is exposed to potentially infectious germs on a daily basis. Because of this, frequent hand washing should be enforced to minimize his or her chances of developing a cold that could cause a middle ear infection. Additionally, providing your child with vitamin-rich foods will help strengthen his or her immune system.
2. Infants are less likely to develop ear infections if they are breast fed research shows. Providing your infant with breast milk gives them many antibodies essential for ear infection prevention. If you choose to bottle feed your infant, do so while he or she is in an upright position.
3. Do not expose your child to smoky environments. Inhalation of secondhand smoke directly increases your child’s risk of ear infection.