Swimmer's Ear 101

07/19/2010 12:00 PM

11/18/2010 12:11 PM

Q. This summer my children keep getting swimmer’s ear. Is there anything we can do to prevent it?

Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is an infection of the ear canal. Swimmer’s ear is caused by bacteria in the ear canal and can result in ear pain. Here are some basic tips for the prevention of otits externa:

-- Attempt to dry the ears after swimming by using a towel to remove any visible water. Lean the head from side to side so water can drain out of the ear canals.

-- Do not put any objects down into the ear canal because this could cause scratches in the canal and increase the risk of infection.

-- Prepare a mix of equal parts rubbing alcohol and white vinegar. Infuse the ear canals with 3 milliliters of the solution after swimming. (Do not use if your child has ear tubes or a punctured ear drum.)

If your child shows signs of swimmer’s ear, she should be evaluated by her healthcare provider to confirm the diagnosis and for treatment with antibiotic ear drops.

Q. We have a 2-year-old son and are expecting our second child in November. We would like to transition our son from the crib to a bed before the new baby arrives. Any suggestions?

Transition from a crib to a bed typically occurs between the ages of 2 and 3. Moving to a “big boy bed” may be associated with increased nighttime waking and bedtime struggles; therefore, anything that can be done to smooth the transition is helpful.

First, evaluate his room with the realization he will now have full access to it. Large pieces of furniture such as bookcases and dressers should be anchored to the wall. Install safeguards on electrical outlets. Verify that cords to window blinds are completely out of reach and secured.

At age 2, he will most likely need bed rails to prevent him from rolling out of bed. Another option is to place his mattress on the floor during the transition and later place it on his bed frame. If his room is large enough, you could leave his crib in place until he has accepted his new bed.

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