My daughter swims year-round and has started getting swimmer's ear. Can we prevent these infections? – Jovana Swimmer's ear, or otitis externa, is common in kids who spend a lot of time in the water. Water can sit in the ear canal and lead to irritation and infection of the outer ear. The good news is there are ways to help prevent outer ear infections. Your daughter can: Wear a bathing cap or removable earplugs when she swims to help keep the ear canals dry. Tip her head from side to side after getting wet to let the water drain out. Use a hair dryer on a low setting, at least 12 inches away, to dry her ears. If her ears still aren't drying out, talk to your doctor about using ear drops at the end of a swim. These help dry up the water in her ears and prevent infection. Your daughter should not clean her ears with cotton swabs or put any other objects in her ears. These can scratch the skin and let bacteria or fungi get in. Ear wax is actually good and can protect against swimmer's ear. Doctors can treat swimmer's ear with antibiotic drops. Your daughter should stay out of the pool while she's recovering. Make sure she uses the antibiotics for as long as the doctor says, even if she feels better sooner. That's the best way to kill the harmful germs. Back to Articles Related Articles Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa) Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal caused by many types of bacteria or fungi. Find out how to prevent it. Read More Ear Injuries Ear injuries not only can affect a child's hearing, but sense of balance too. That's because our ears also help keep us steady on our feet. Read More Dealing With Earwax Earwax helps protect the eardrum and fight infection. Parents shouldn't attempt to remove earwax at home, as doing so risks damage to the ear canal and, possibly, a child's hearing. Read More Is Earwax Removal Safe? Is it OK to use cotton swabs to remove earwax? Read More Middle Ear Infections (Otitis Media) Ear infections are common among kids and, often, painful. Find out what causes them and how they're treated. Read More Word! External Otitis Many kids have had an ear infection known as external otitis. Read More Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis) Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal that can be caused by different types of bacteria or fungi. Find out how to prevent or treat it. Read More What Is an Ear Infection? A middle ear infection happens when germs like bacteria and viruses get in your middle ear and cause trouble. Read this article to find out more. Read More Swimmer's Ear You swam! You splashed! And now you have it: swimmer's ear. Read More Your Ears Now hear this! Here's an article about ears. Find out how your amazing ears do their amazing job. Read More What's Earwax? Why do our ears make earwax? Find out in this article for kids. Read More Eardrum Injuries A "popped" eardrum is more than just painful - it can sometimes lead to hearing loss. Learn about ruptured eardrums and how to prevent them. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.