Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

Can I Prevent Ear Infections When My Child Swims?

What Is Swimmer's Ear?

Swimmer's ear, or otitis externa, is common in kids who spend a lot of time in the water. Water can sit in the ear canal and lead to irritation and infection of the outer ear.

What Can Help Prevent Swimmer's Ear?

The good news is there are ways to help prevent outer ear infections. Kids can:

  • Wear a bathing cap or removable earplugs when they swim to help keep the ear canals dry.
  • Tip their head from side to side after getting wet to let the water drain out and use a towel to dry the ears.
  • Use a hair dryer on a low, cool setting, at least 12 inches away, to dry their ears.

If your child's ears still aren't drying out, talk to your doctor about using ear drops at the end of a swim. These help dry up the water in the ears and prevent infection. These drops should not be used in kids with ear tubes or a ruptured eardrum.

Kids shouldn't clean their ears with cotton swabs or put any other objects into them. These can scratch the skin and let bacteria or fungi get in. Ear wax is actually good and can protect against swimmer's ear.

Doctors can treat swimmer's ear with antibiotic drops. Kids should stay out of the pool while they recover. Make sure they use the antibiotics for as long as the doctor says, even if they feel better sooner. That's the best way to kill the harmful germs.

Reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date Reviewed: Apr 10, 2023

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.