Swimmer’s Ear Isn’t Just for Summer

Summertime means beaches and lakes and lots of swim time. That doesn’t stop when Fall arrives! Many of our children participate in swim programs and teams throughout the year! So what does one do if their little swimmer starts complaining about painful ears after a pool visit?

In “doctor-speak,” swimmer’s ear is technically called “otitis externa.” Your ears secrete a film of wax that acts as a barrier to bacteria and other invaders. When water gets between that wax and the outer layer of your ear canal, bacteria can develop, and that can create a feeling of pressure in the ear – like an earache. And believe it or not, it can happen on dry land also! You don’t have to submerge your head to attract that moisture!

If your child goes swimming, ask them afterwards if they feel like they still have water in their ears. If they lie down, the water may run out of their ears naturally. A good prevention technique is mixing half white vinegar with half common rubbing alcohol. The vinegar balances the PH of the ear while the rubbing alcohol will dry out the ear to remove that excess moisture. Most bacteria relies on a certain PH to grow. Three or four drops of this mixture should do the trick.

PLEASE avoid using q-tips or other invasive objects, as this can lead to eardrum damage and an infection!

If your child is still complaining of fullness, pain, or a clogged feeling after 24 hours, it’s time to come see us.

We typically treat swimmer’s ear with oral or topical antibiotics (ear drops). If your child is experiencing pain, over the counter Ibuprofen or Tylenol will provide them some relief. Until all of your child’s symptoms disappear, stay out of the water! Cheer from the sidelines for a practice or two!

Then you’ll be ready to dive back in.

Your Insurance and Your Check-up

There is plenty of evidence supporting the need for regular healthy check-ups for children. The general health for your child and for the community is improved. There is also ample proof that getting your care with the same physician is much more beneficial than seeing many providers at diverse locations. 

But, as with many healthy suggestions, there is a catch. 
      
At our practices, we are finding that insurance companies are getting more and more restrictive about check-ups. Some companies only allow one check-up in a 365 day span. Other plans allow only one check-up in a calendar year. Co-pays are also changing a lot this year. Of course, these restrictions don’t apply to babies and toddlers, but the rules are becoming more and more confusing and restrictive. 

Sometimes issues come up during a visit that exceed the normal bounds of a check-up. If we spend significant time, have to prescribe medications, arrange referrals, etc there may be an extra charge with your check-up. These are also new rules imposed by your insurance company.

Please check with your insurance company to determine your individual coverage before a visit. Our staff will do our best to figure it out also; but we hope you understand that as the rules get more confusing and diverse, it takes us more time to help you with your child’s regular care. We’ll do as much as possible to help you understand the intricacies and rules governing your coverage.  

We all love seeing our patients as they grow and we hope you like seeing us too. 

WHY GET A REAL CHECK-UP?

Yearly check-ups at your pediatrician’s are an important part of children’s health. The quick sports physical you can get at school or a “minute clinic” cannot give you the care that keeps you healthy.

We can give you broad, comprehensive care because we know you. We can discuss old issues such as past headaches or stomach aches. We can check your height and weight and be able to compare it with last year’s measurements and make sure everyone is growing well. We can make sure  school is going well and development is going as it should. We can make sure vaccines are up to date; and this is not an issue that ends when they are toddlers. Teenagers need vaccines too. We can ask how the past year went. Have there been any accidents, new medications, specialist visits? Maybe there was a reaction to anesthesia when they had their wisdom teeth removed.

We can follow up on any of those issues. We can give you guidance about what to expect over the next year. Should they try music lessons? When should we start talking about chores and allowances?

Urgent care clinics just can’t give you that comprehensive care. They don’t have your records. They don’t know your history. They don’t know your family.

One of the most important thing we’ve noticed over the years is the relationship we have with our patients. We can remember most things (not everything) when we see you. Remember that you recently took that trip over the summer, maybe that bad flu illness that dad had last winter, maybe that your sister just got accepted to college.

Plenty of medical studies have proven that health is better if you have a lasting relationship with your doctor. It is hard to quantify, but there is truth in that. We know we are happy largely because we have many good relationships with our many great patients. We would like to think that we will live happier and longer because of the relationships we have with you.  And so will you.

So….make that check-up appointment this summer.

You deserve more than a minute at a clinic. See you soon.