Swimmer's ear is a common problem among children who go out swimming, but the good news is that it is easy to prevent. Swimmer's ear is a bacterial or fungal infection caused by water caught in the ear canal. The tell-tale signs of this painful infection are swelling of the ear canal and some drainage or discharge. While other types of ear infections cause pain inside the ear, swimmer's ear causes pain when the outside of the ear is touched.
The infection can be prevented by something as simple as using the corner of a washcloth or towel to dry ears after swimming. A hair-dryer can also help if it placed about 30cm away from the ear and used in the low setting to dry the ear. Remember, never use a cotton bud or swab to clear or dry the ear canal as it could damage the ear drum.
If a child does develop swimmer's ear, doctors may prescribe anesthetic, antibiotic or antifungal ear drops. Over-the-counter (OTP) ear drops are also available to prevent swimmer’s ear, but care should be taken to not use it on children using ear tubes, suffering from ruptured eardrums or have had ear surgery.