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What is swimmer’s ear?

Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the skin lining the ear canal. This problem is most common among swimmers or children that spend a lot of time in water. If your child has swimmer’s ear, he or she may have the following symptoms:

  • itchy and painful ear canals 
  • pain when the ear is moved up and down 
  • pain when the tab of the outer ear overlying the ear canal is pushed in 
  • ear feels plugged up 
  • slight amount of clear discharge at first (without treatment, the discharge becomes yellowish).

What is the cause?

Swimmer’s ear occurs when your child’s ears have been in the water for long periods of time. When water gets trapped in the ear canal the lining becomes damp, swollen, and prone to infection.

Children are more likely to get swimmer’s ear from swimming in lake water, compared to swimming pools or the sea. During the hottest weeks of the summer, some lakes have high levels of bacteria. Narrow ear canals also increase the risk of swimmer’s ear.

How long does it last?

With treatment, symptoms should be better in 3 days and cleared up in 7 days.

How can I take care of my child?

  • Antibiotic-steroid eardrops for severe swimmer’s ear. (These require a prescription.)

    Your child’s eardrops are _______________________. Put in _______ drops ________ times a day.

    Run the eardrops down the side of the ear canal’s opening so that air isn’t trapped under the drops. Move the earlobe back and forth to help the eardrops pass down. Continue using the eardrops until all the symptoms are cleared up for 48 hours.

    Generally, your child should not swim until the symptoms are gone. If he is on a swim team, he may continue but should use the eardrops as a rinse after each swimming session. Continued swimming may cause a slower recovery but won’t cause any serious problems.

  • White vinegar eardrops. 

    For mild swimmer’s ear, use half-strength white vinegar eardrops. Fill the ear canal with white vinegar diluted with an equal amount of water. After 5 minutes, remove it by turning the head to the side. Do this twice a day until the ear canal gets back to normal.

  • Pain relief. 

    Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for pain relief.

How can I help prevent swimmer’s ear?

First, limit how many hours a day your child spends in the water. The key to prevention is keeping the ear canals dry when your child is not swimming. After swimming, get all water out of the ear canals by turning the head to the side and pulling the earlobe in different directions to help the water run out. Dry the opening to the ear canal carefully. If recurrences are a big problem, rinse your child’s ear canals with rubbing alcohol each time he finishes swimming or bathing to help it dry and kill germs. Another helpful home remedy is a solution of half rubbing alcohol and half white vinegar. The vinegar restores the normal acid balance to the ear canal.

Ask your healthcare provider if your child should use ear plugs or a swimming cap.

Common mistakes

  • Do not put cotton swabs in ear canals. They increase earwax buildup. The earwax then traps water behind it and increases the risk of swimmer’s ear. 
  • Rubbing alcohol is helpful for preventing swimmer’s ear but not for treating it because it stings an infected ear too much.

How long will the effects last?

The curvature in the back will never go away. However, many people have no symptoms or problems from their scoliosis. When problems do occur, they will last until the symptoms are treated. How well the treatment works depends on the type of treatment and the severity of the problem.

Call 911

If you feel that your child needs immediate medical care.

Call our office immediately if:

(410) 721-2273

  • The ear pain becomes severe. 
  • Your child starts acting very sick.

Call us during office hours if:

  • The ear symptoms are not cleared up in 7 days. 
  • You have other concerns or questions.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of “Your Child’s Health,” Bantam Books.
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

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Sharp Pain In The Ear: Causes And Symptoms

Feeling a sharp pain in the ear is quite a common occurrence. However, while painful ears may not necessarily spell trouble, it does not mean that you should ignore it when it happens. Pain in the ear is known as otalgia by doctors. There are many different possible causes and symptoms of pain in the ear, such as TMJ disorder. Read on to find out more about the causes and symptoms of sharp pain in the ear!

Why Does Pain Occur in the Ears?

Pain in the ears may be a result of one or a few different factors. Our ears are made up of a tube known as the eustachian tube. This tube is in charge of regulating pressure within the ear. However, if the tube gets blocked, it may result in an imbalance in pressure. External pressure changes can result in symptoms like dizziness, hearing loss, pressure within the ear, or dull or sharp pain within the ear.

Sinus Infections Can Result in Ear Pain

Sometimes, sinus infections can result in sharp ear pain. This happens when the ear gets inflamed and infected, which is the most common type of sinus infection. The mastoid bone which is located behind the ear can also get infected, leading to ear pain. One may also experience ear pain when the paranasal sinuses get inflamed. The paranasal sinus is in charge of nasal mucus production.


Otitis refers to the infection of the outer or the inner ear and is a very common cause of ear pain. When the inner ear gets affected, the eustachian tube, which connects the upper throat and the back of the nasal cavity, may feel tender and painful.

On the other hand, when the outer ear gets infected, the ear canal is affected which can lead to irritation and pain in the ear.

Foreign Objects Lodged in the Ear

When a foreign object gets lodged in the ear canal, it may also result in ear pain. For instance, sometimes children may insert foreign objects into their ears as they are curious. This may lead to dull or sharp pain within the ears, infections, drainage from the ears as well as hearing loss. If this happens, it is important to visit a healthcare provider who is able to use proper procedures and tools to remove the object.

Temporomandibular Disorder

Temporomandibular disorder is also known as TMD. This joint is responsible for connecting the jawbone to the skull. When someone has a temporomandibular disorder, they may experience dull or sharp pains which may radiate in the temples and the ears. Other symptoms of temporomandibular disorder include difficulty in opening the mouth fully, grinding, popping, and clicking noises when opening and closing the jaw, as well as the jaw locking when opening the mouth.

Patients are sometimes diagnosed and treated many times for an ear infection, when it is actually a TMD disorder. An associated hearing loss or ear drainage is expected if it was really an ear infection. Many patients struggle with having ear pain for years before realizing that the root cause is linked to TMD. If you experience ear pain, you might want to find out if TMD is actually the main issue.
If you are feeling a sharp pain in the ear, it is important to seek the help of a medical professional. Head Pain Institute is a reliable and established healthcare provider that can help with the ear pain that you are experiencing, if it is not due to an infection. Feel free to schedule an appointment with us to treat your ear pain today!

What to do if a child or an adult is bitten by a bee/wasp — Dobrobut clinic

What to do at home if a bee or wasp stings

Summer is the time for vacations, trips to the sea, vegetables and fruits and… wasps with bees . These insects are especially active during this season, and meeting with them often turns into hostilities. A wasp can attack without even being provoked, its bite (or rather, sting) for most people is not dangerous, but very painful. Medical practice shows that most people do not know what to do with a wasp / bee sting and the site dobrobut.com will try to change this situation.

Why are bee or wasp stings dangerous? These are:

  • bees;
  • wasps;
  • hornets;
  • bumblebees.

Moreover, the first two have the dubious “honor” of being leaders in aggressive actions.

The danger of being bitten by these insects is somewhat exaggerated. Most of those stung are not in danger of anything, except for a certain discomfort. At the very moment of stinging, a sharp pain and burning sensation occurs at the site of the sting, which pass over time. Edema develops immediately, and the more pronounced, the more fat or loose fiber is under the wound. Redness after a bee or wasp sting is common.

The presence of fiber under the skin is an important factor affecting the general condition of a person after a sting. The danger is situations when the sting stuck into the lips, soft or hard palate, tongue. In this case, a pronounced local reaction occurs in the form of severe edema, which can block the upper respiratory tract, and the person simply suffocates.

In general, the venom of wasps and bees is not dangerous. In order for it to kill a healthy person, several hundred insects must sting him. Even the stings of a dozen bees will only cause a general reaction in the form of a rise in temperature (more often in a child), chills, and weakness.

Much more dangerous are allergic reactions to hymenoptera venom (this group of insects includes wasps and bees). In this case, at the first contact with the poison, sensitization occurs, that is, the immune response fails. The second contact starts a chain of pathological reactions, as a result of which an allergy develops.

Localized urticaria is considered the least dangerous – the appearance within a few minutes of skin itching, a spotted red rash on certain parts of the body (spots merge, forming reddened “fields” of uneven shape), weakness may occur, usually unexpressed. Swelling at the site of the bite is no different from swelling in the absence of allergies. When the rash spreads to the whole body, it is said about generalized urticaria – a more serious condition that is not yet life-threatening, but can become a harbinger of serious complications.

Quincke’s edema is one of such severe conditions. In this case, the soft tissues of the face swell first of all – lips, eyelids, cheeks. The transition of edema to the neck is dangerous for the development of laryngeal edema – a deadly condition in which the upper respiratory tract is completely blocked. Death occurs within minutes from suffocation.

An even more dangerous, though rare, complication of a bee or wasp sting is anaphylactic shock. In this case, within a few minutes, the patient’s blood pressure drops sharply, the pulse quickens, the rash spreads throughout the body. The skin becomes pale, cold sticky sweat appears. The outcome of anaphylactic shock is death from acute cardiovascular failure. But this is only if the patient is not helped.

Wasp or bee sting: what to do at home

If a bee stings, the first step is to remove the sting. For this purpose, use tweezers or a sterile needle (you can ignite an ordinary sewing needle on fire). The bite site is treated with any antiseptic, ice is applied to reduce the absorption of poison into narrowed blood vessels. Some mothers are interested in how to relieve swelling in a child after a wasp sting. Ice will help reduce its severity.

Locally it is desirable to apply any hormonal ointment – hydrocortisone, prednisolone. If the victim is prone to allergies or the sting occurred in a dangerous place (oral cavity, neck, face), he needs to drink a tablet of one of the antihistamines – tavegil, suprastin. Loratadine and cetirizine are not very suitable due to the rather slow onset effect.

Severe allergies require injections. Most often, this is available only to specialists who inject adrenaline, prednisolone and suprastin intramuscularly, and in critical cases intravenously. With anaphylactic shock, a drip infusion of various solutions may also be required, without which it is impossible to raise the lowered blood pressure. In addition, the victim is laid on his back, legs are raised above head level. With vomiting and loss of consciousness, the patient is laid on his side.

Quincke’s edema, accompanied by swelling of the larynx, may require a mini-surgery, which can only be performed by a qualified doctor. In this case, the soft tissues of the neck are dissected in a certain place so as to open the lumen of the larynx. A tube is inserted into it through which the victim will breathe. This operation is called a cricoconicotomy and sometimes it is the only way to save a person’s life.

A wasp or bee sting is usually not dangerous, however, it always requires attention. No one knows how the human body will react to this kind of injury. Therefore, at the slightest sign of trouble in the body, you should immediately call an ambulance and follow all the recommendations of doctors.

How can you avoid being bitten by a hornet?

Who are hornets, how do they differ from wasps and bees?

Hornets are very large wasps, although there is a difference: they collect material for building nests from rotten stumps and twigs, so their nests are brown rather than gray. Their nests, like paper houses, reach up to 10 tiers, and they build them in hollows, under the roofs of houses, in birdhouses and in empty beehives. The hornet is a real war machine: adult insects feed on substances containing a lot of sugar (juice of fruits, fruits and berries, nectar, etc.), but they can also attack bees, grasshoppers, wasps and locusts. For example, a hornet can eat up to 30 bees per day. Thus, hornets can be considered both useful (they destroy pests) and harmful insects; in their defense, we can only say that the hornets destroy only weak insects

Are hornets dangerous for humans?

Hornets attack a person only if he causes him inconvenience or threatens him, his relatives and his home, then they become aggressive, and the larger the family, the more aggressive it is. Hornets sting very painfully, up to 2 mg of poison enters the wound, which is 2.5 times more than with a bee sting, and even after a bee sting, it dies, and wasps and hornets can continue to sting further. An adult may experience severe swelling, fainting, with a multiple bite, a person may even die, but for a child, one bite may be enough for very serious consequences. Another danger is that hornet venom can penetrate the mosquito net, causing a burn, for example, to the mucous membrane of the eye.

What to do if bitten by a hornet?

In order not to provoke the hornets, just do not get too close to their nests, and, moreover, disturb their inhabitants. But if nevertheless something unpleasant happened … Redness, swelling, severe pain may appear in the places of bites, the temperature may rise, nausea and vomiting, headache and lethargy may appear, coordination may be disturbed; limbs may become cold, lips, ears and neck may turn blue; increase in pulse, reactions up to anaphylactic shock. First aid for a hornet bite should include the immediate removal of the sting (if it remains), squeezing fluid from the wound and applying a cold lotion to the bite area. Secondly, take an antihistamine (for allergies) as soon as possible and see a doctor, especially if a child has been bitten. And yet, never cauterize the bite site with alcohol solutions, this will irritate the wound even more.