Water in Ears – Symptoms and Treatment for Children

Swimming is the most refreshing and rejuvenating activity that you can do with your child this summer. But one of the problems that you are likely to encounter after your child comes out of the swimming pool is – water in the ears.

How does water enter the ear?

The ear is a very carefully constructed organ and under normal circumstances even if water goes into the ear it comes out immediately. The structure of the ear in which the ear canal slopes outwards helps in this. Any water that goes into the ear – under normal circumstances – instantly flows out.

The problem arises when there is a large amount of wax in the ear. Wax present in the ear has a protective function – but when it is present in large quantities – it traps the water that enters the ear and does not allow it to flow out. This is what causes the uncomfortable sensations of fullness and pain.

What are the symptoms of water in your ear?

Water in the ears causes symptoms like –

  1. A very uncomfortable feeling that may make a small child cranky
  2. A blocked feeling in the ears
  3. A fullness in the ear
  4. Giddiness is also possible
  5. If there is infection there may also be pain and itching

Does water in the ear cause infections?

Water in the ear makes the ear prone to infection. Water damages the skin lining the ear canal.

When the skin lining the ear canal is damaged – there is a very high chance of getting fungal infections

This must be treated by an ENT surgeon who will clean the ear – dry the canal and start antibiotics and antifungal drugs

Also read What to do when your child has an ear infection


How do you get water out of your ears?

Having water in the ear and feeling blocked and unable to hear properly can be very uncomfortable. And so – before you enter the pool you must know how to get rid of water from the ear. The steps mentioned below are first-aid measures that all parents must be familiar with and must start before they take their child to the doctor.

If your child has water in the ear

  1. Ask your child to tilt his/her head towards the side on which the ear is blocked.
  2. Insert a dry cotton plug into the ear cavity. Push it in as deep as possible – with your finger. Do not use any pointed object to push in the cotton plug.
  3. If your child has an ear ache Use Nose drops to relieve the pressure and pain
  4. Ask your child to do repeated swallowing movements to release the vacuum and pressure
  5. Ask your child to chew chewing gum to release the pressure

Watch this video to know what to do when water goes into your child’s ears

Article continues after the video

How to prevent water from going into the ears

It is almost impossible to prevent water from entering the ears during swimming. However the following precautions must always be taken.

  1. Do not swim with a cold – If your child has a cold – do not allow her/him to swim. When a child with a cold dives into the pool – there is a sudden increase in ear pressure. This ear pressure is released through the canal that connects the ear and the nose. And this can only happen if the nose is free and open. If the nose is blocked due to a cold – this pressure cannot be released. This increased pressure can then cause the ear drum to burst.
  2. If your child frequently gets ear aches – get the ears checked by an ENT surgeon and have the wax removed before your child starts swimming. This will reduce the chances of water getting trapped in the ear behind the wax.

Also read 10 Swimming Pool Safety Tips for Kids in Summer Read Before you Dive




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