Healthy Living: Combating swimmer's ear

With all this warm weather, lots of kids are in and out of the water to stay cool.  The last thing you want is a trip to the doctor's office with swimmer's ear.

Unfortunately, doctors say swimmer's ear is really common during the summer.  The good news is there are some things you can do to prevent it.

First, try to keep ears as dry as possible using swim caps and ear plugs.  Dry off ears with a towel and have kids shake off any excess water.

Dr. David Schneider with Virginia Mason also recommends a hair dryer.  He says a hair dryer on a low, cool setting, held about 12 inches from the ear can help dry up some of that excess water.

Swimmer's ear is inflammation in the ear canal after water gets inside the ear and causes a bacterial infection.  The primary symptom is pain and you're child will likely be telling you it hurts even to touch the ear.  If that's the case, it's time to see a doctor.

"It will not go away on it's own," said Dr. David Schneider.  "You definitely need treatment.  The way that we treat it is we use some ear drops that have an antibiotic in them to get rid of the infection, but they also have a steroid in them and the steroid is what decreases the inflammation in the ear canal and that's really what's causing the ear pain the child's having."

Dr. Schneider says Ibuprofen works good for pain.  Also, a good home remedy until you can get into your pediatrician is one part alcohol and one part vinegar, which will help get rid of some of the excess water in the ear.