During a bout of swimmer's ear, it is painful when the outer ear is touched or moved. Sometimes itchiness in the ear canal may occur before the pain. You may see yellow or whitish drainage coming from the ear canal. Your son's hearing may also be affected, as sound is blocked due to the swelling and inflammation of the skin of the ear canal. However, once the infection is treated, his hearing will return to normal. Fever is uncommon.
The treatment for swimmer's ear is to use prescription eardrops that kill the bacteria causing the infection and reduce the swelling and inflammation. To help relieve your son's ear pain, you can give some acetaminophen by mouth. Sometimes a warm cotton cloth or heating pad to the outside of the ear offers some relief. While the infection is being treated, it is important to keep the ear dry. Avoid getting more water in the ear canal with bathing and showering. Swimming is okay, but keeping your child's head out of the water until the infection has cleared is important.
To prevent future infections, be sure your son dries his ears immediately after swimming. Some people suggest using eardrops with alcohol in them to help keep the ear canal dry. Talk with your son's pediatrician about what she might recommend.