From the desk of Doc Smo: Swimmer’s Ear Prevention 101 (Article)

If you have ever had it, you know Swimmer’s Ear hurts like crazy. However, most people have no idea what Swimmer’s Ear is and what causes it. Well, lets fix that right now. To understand the cause, we need to start by gaining an understanding of the architecture of the ear and how it is different than other places in the body. The ear canal is a dark tunnel lined with skin that is often very damp, especially in warmer weather. Water frequently gets in but gets trapped by the shape of the ear canal. Well, what happens to water anywhere it sits around without movement, especially when it’s at body temperature? You know it, yuk grows in it! This is especially true in your ear canal when you are in and out of water all day. Once the water enables fungus and bacteria to grow in the ear canal, it is easy to see how these microbes can infect the surrounding skin. Swelling occurs to the point that the ear canal can literally be shut, making things much worse. Oh man, that can hurt!
All of this leads to a tender ear, aching down the side of the neck, and a very miserable child. The children most prone to having bouts of Swimmer’s Ear are: those with eczema (lots of cracks in their skin), those who frequently use Q-tips, those who are in and out of water frequently (especially lake or ocean water), and those who go to bed with wet hair (yes, your mother was right on that one).

Once an outer ear infection gets started, it can be very difficult to control; prevention is the only game in town. Here is a simple way to prevent Swimmer’s Ear in your child, especially as they go off to camp and swim in lakes and rivers. First, buy a bottle of rubbing alcohol and pour half of it out. Fill the bottle back up with either white vinegar or apple vinegar. If you can get a bottle with a dropper on it, great. At the end of EVERY summer day, when no more water is going to get into your child’s ear (usually bedtime), put a few drops of the alcohol/vinegar mixture in their ears and rub it around. Dry the excess with a towel. The combination of the alcohol and acidic vinegar make a very hostile place for germs, and they simply don’t grow. Without the bacteria and fungus in abundance, the cracks don’t get infected. Make sure their hair is dry, and put those little puppies to bed. If you are religious about this, most children won’t be suffering from Swimmer’s Ear this summer. Miss a day or two and all bets are off. If they go to camp, figure out how to make this happen there. It is worth the effort.

Attention Parents: ADD Week coming July 11-17 (Article)

We are continuing our presentation of “theme weeks” at DocSmo.com. Hopefully you survived “Bathroom Bootcamp” and attended “Camp Essentials” in recent weeks. Starting July 11, 2011 we are going to explore the subject of ADD in true DocSmo style: full of opinions, learning, and interviews in a practical and portable format. During this week, I am excited to be able to bring you the perspective Dr. Sheila Kilbane MD, an integrative pediatrician, who will give you her unique and fascinating perspective on the important subject of ADD and school problems. Don’t forget to stay alert for “ADD Week,” coming next week!

When Sports Participation Begins to Hurt (Pedcast)

Sports are great, but your child can have too much of a good thing. Your child can learn a lot of valuable skills and life lessons on the court or field, but at some point, the physical and mental rigor of sports can be too much, leading to mental and physical fatigue and injury. In this episode of DocSmo.com, Dr Smolen reviews the AAP guidelines for limiting competitive sports and gives you some common sense guidelines of his own.

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Poison Ivy-Just Leaf it alone! (Pedcast)

Camp Essentials continues with some “must know” facts about the most common contact dermatitis, poison ivy. Learn some burning facts that parents have been itching to know. In this episode, Dr. Smolen gives parents the Must Know facts to keep their children away from the summer misery called poison ivy.

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For more information about camp essentials, check out the topic of the week!

 

Subscribe on iTunes!

Subscribe on iTunes!

 

*By listening to this pedcast, you are agreeing to Doc Smo’s terms and conditions.

 

© All Right’s Reserved.