Ask the Pediatrician: Swimmer's ear

Ask the Pediatrician: Swimmer's ear
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A common problem in summertime, especially among children, is swimmer's ear.

While most ear infections happen in the middle ear, swimmer's ear is centered in the outer ear (separated from the middle ear by the ear drum). From a pediatrician's point of view, the two are completely different from cause to treatment, according to Dr. David Kosten with IU Health Physicians.

Swimmer's ear is caused by excessive wetness, allowing bacteria to grow. It can be very painful - even more so than middle-ear infections. If your child flinches away from even slight touches to their ear, that could be a sign of swimmer's ear.

You can prevent swimmer's ear by keeping the ear dry. If it does develop, though, don't try sticking anything in the ear - you could just set up a path for the germs that cause infections. Instead, try blotting the ear with a towel. If your child is in the water all the time, try a 50-50 solution of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar - just a few drops in the ear after they get out of the pool.

Swimmer's ear can go from bad to worse really quickly, so fast treatment is important.

Dr. Kosten discussed this issue on Eyewitness News at Noon Tuesday. Click here if you don't see the video above.