How to prevent ear infections this summer

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Most kids look forward to summer months to spend time in the pool, but more time in the pool could result in more ear infections.

Kids are more prone to ear infections during the summer months when they are excessively exposing their ears to water such as swimming.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, swimmer's ear is a common problem that can cause pain and discomfort for children and swimmers of all ages. In the U.S. alone, swimmer's ear results in an estimated 2.4 million health care visits every year.

"It's hardto keep from getting ear infections in the summer, you do a lot of swimming," said grandmother Jala Erby.

Erbybrings her 2 grand kids to swim lessons at the Jonesboro Pool Center and saidthey have both had ear infections in the past.

"Not toooften but they do occasionally especially this one. I think they go swimming atthe lake and kind of tend to get dirty water then," she said.

Erby said herdaughter takes certain precautions when taking her grand kids swimming.

"She'll makesure they have that swim ear that they put in their ear or they wash out theirear with alcohol," she said.

With ear infections,Dr. Shane Speights with St. Bernards says it's all about location, location, location.

"Is it onone side of the eardrum or is it on the inside of the eardrum," Speights said. "Anywherewhere they may be getting their head under water and exposing the inner ear toinfection."

He said swimmer's ear is more common in children during the summer months whenkids are more active in water.

"There'sgoing to be pain to the ear, certainly whenever we tug on the ear and pull onthe ear the child will be complaining and sharp pain," Spights said.

But not toworry, he said parents can easily make their own home remedy.

"If you justget a bottle and put half vinegar and half alcohol and after your children havebeen swimming whether it be a pool or a pond or anything, if you put a fewdrops in each ear," he said.

Speights said if parents take good preventive measures they can significantly reduce the risk ofswimmer's ear.

He said parents can alsoprotect their kids from swimmer's ear by keeping their ears clean and dry and byusing earplugs.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.