Medical Information

Schedule of Well Visits

Swimmer's Ear

Q: How can I tell if my child's ear pain is a middle ear infection or just "swimmer's ear"?

A: Most middle ear infections are preceded by nasal congestion from a cold or allergies. Swimmer's ear or "otitis externa" is a bacterial infection in the external ear canal. Many children will report this kind of ear infection hurts MORE than a middle ear infection. The canal is often swollen and has "whitish" material in it. The telltale sign is if you push on the "tragus" (the little flap on the external ear where it attaches to your cheek), the children will complain of increased pain.

Swimmer's ear is treated with antibiotic drops to the ear canal. You should also use an appropriate pain relief medication (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) and avoid swimming until the child is pain-free for 24 hours.

Q: How can I prevent swimmer's ear? My child seems to get it repeatedly.

A: The best way to prevent swimmer's ear is to keep the ear canal as dry as possible. Preparing a combination of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar in equal amounts is a good prevention strategy. After the child is done being "wet" for the day, use a dropper to put a few drops of this mixture in each ear. The vinegar alters the pH of the canal to discourage bacterial growth, and the alcohol acts as a drying agent.



Insects Bites

The children are outside, and so are the insects! Here are some helpful hints to help deal with pesky insects:
• Many insect bites can be prevented by applying an insect repellent sparingly to the clothing or exposed skin prior to going outdoors. See Your Child's Health for tips on precautions with DEET insect repellents.
• Bites of mosquitoes, chiggers, fleas, and bedbugs usually cause itchy red bumps. The size of the swelling following a mosquito bite means very little. For itchy bumps, apply calamine lotion or over the counter hydrocortisone cream in 0.5% or 1% strength. Use cool compresses to decrease itching and encourage your children not to scratch.
• Bites of horseflies, deerflies, sand flies, gnats, fire ants, centipedes, etc. can cause painful red bumps. Often rubbing the bite area with an ice cube helps to reduce the pain.
• Tick bites: A tick is an insect that attaches to skin and sucks blood. Tick bites are often painless. The best way to prevent transmission of tick-born illnesses is to do a "whole body" tick inspection every night, if your child has been playing outside.

Wilmington Office

715 Medical Center Drive
Wilmington, NC  28401

Phone: (910)763-2476
FAX: (910)763-8176

Click here for more information.

Hampstead Office

16747 US HWY 17N, Suite 114 Hampstead, NC  28443

Phone: (910) 777-2013
FAX: (910) 821-1060

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