Summer is here. For some of us this might mean hot days, beach trips, swimming and sun baking by the pool. But for many families - it’s ear infection season. This means countless trips to the doctors and kids in pain.
A staggering one million plus Australians per year suffer from ear pain and swimmers ear – due to water being trapped in their ear. It’s a $70 million problem for the Australian health system…. and a massive pain for all involved – time off work, doctor visits, sleepless nights (especially if parents have a young child with a screaming ear infection). For athletes commonly in the water, Swimmers Ear means 2 weeks out of training while the infection resolves.
The cause of swimmers ear?
Our naturally produced ear wax is eroded by continued exposure to water, making the external ear canal susceptible to irritation and pain. Less ear wax means more water retention, more irritation and more inflammation – and ultimately an ear infection. This type of ear infection is commonly referred to as Swimmer Ear. The clinical term for this it Acute Otitis Externa (AOE). Common symptoms are pain, itching, dulled hearing and an ear discharge.
Myth buster: Swimmers ear is NOT due to non-treated water (ie. Ocean, fresh water, rivers). The cause is simply the retention and repeated exposure of water in the ear canal that erodes our protective wax layer.
“Trapped water is one of the causes of outer ear infections.” –(Drs.Patrick H Allwright and Peter Tunguy-Desmarais ENT Surgeons and developers of SwimSeal Ear Drops)
Not fun. Infections require topical antibiotic or antifungal treatment initially. Oral antibiotics may need to be prescribed. Repeated ear infections cause a build-up of scar tissue which makes it even more difficult for water to escape leading to a higher risk of an infection.
Prevention is the ONLY solution.
A new product on the market, Swimseal, was developed by ear nose and throat (ENT) specialists who were sick of the constant line up of kids with ear infections. It is a protective ear drop that mimics the properties of ear wax and keeps your ears HAPPY in the water. This truly is a sigh of relief for parents out there who know what we’re talking about. It’s time to enjoy the water, without the ear pain of swimmers ear.
Make sure you SLIP SLOP SLAP and SEAL this summer.