Caring for your Family’s Ears this Summer

ear_protection_for_summerSummer’s on its way (at last) and for some of us that means jetting off on a well-deserved family holiday, or simply relaxing at home and enjoying the sunshine. Of course, if you’re a parent you’ll know the summer season comes with its hazards as well, and if your family’s prone to ear infections it pays to take all the possible precautions.

Younger children tend to be more susceptible to ear infections than adults, causing a lot of discomfort and irritability, and even leading to hearing damage if they’re not properly treated. Here are three important tips for caring for the health of your ears while enjoying family fun this summer:

Swimming

Otitis externa, or swimmer’s ear, affects about 10% of the population and can really put a damper on a sunny summer holiday. This painful condition is typically the result of repeated exposure to water, and the result is inflammation of the external ear canal, which causes pain and even temporary hearing loss. If your family is getting ready to hit the pool or take a dip in the ocean, protect their ears with swimming caps or specially designed swimming ear plugs.

Flights

Air travel is no fun if you’re stuck with sore or blocked ears. Children and adults alike are often affected by ear pain during flights, when pressure builds up behind the eardrum during the rapid changes in air pressure when taking off or landing. This is relieved when the Eustachian tube opens to equalise the pressure, causing the ears to “pop” and the pain to ease. However, many children (and some adults) the Eustachian tube doesn’t function as well as it should, and it’s necessary to encourage the tube to open. Younger children should suck a pacifier or drink from a bottle, while older children can chew sugar-free gum.

Other Conditions

If you or a family member gets a cold, an ear infection or allergies that will affect the functioning of the Eustachian tube, either before or during your holiday, it’s not advisable to fly until the condition has been treated. Most doctors will prescribe ear drops, or in more extreme cases, antibiotics.

Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy and happy summer holiday!

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