New guidelines for treating swimmer's ear - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New guidelines for treating swimmer's ear

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Daniel Diamantakos is an active 7-year-old. But swimming can be problematic. He often gets swimmer's ear like he did on his recent vacation to the Bahamas.

"One day my ear started hurting," he said.

"When he was diving in under the water a day later he would have a high fever and fluid was coming out of his ear," mom Natalia said.

Swimmer's ear is a painful infection of the ear canal. Besides swimming, people can get it through any scratch to the ear that can let bacteria in.

Up to 40 percent of swimmer's ear infections are treated with oral antibiotics, but new guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology advise against the pills.

"It's a bad idea. It has side effects, it causes resistance and it delays recovery," said Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, the lead author of the new advisory.

Rosenfeld says doctors should treat the infection with ear drops.

"Antibiotic ear drops can be a thousand times more concentrated than what you take by mouth. So, it really is like dropping a bomb on the bacteria," he said.

About half of swimmer's ear infections are among children 15 and younger. Daniel's mother Natalia hopes he grows out of it as he gets older.

"I'm just waiting for it to be over," she said.

Until then, she brings ear plugs and ear drops on every vacation.

Swimmer's ear affects one in every 123 Americans each year. The infection usually gets better within 72 hours after treatment.

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