International Schools Group (ISG)

School Nurse

Notes from the Nurse's Office

Swimmer’s ear

The skin lining the ear canal has a thin coat of wax.  This is to protect the very thin sensitive skin from stuff that can get into it.

How do you get swimmer’s ear?

If a person is in the water a lot, sometimes water collects in the ear canal and washes away the earwax, making the skin soggy.
Sometimes the chemicals used to make pool water safe to swim in can irritate ears.  Some bacteria which really like warm wet places may move in and start to grow and cause an ear infection.
Some people, especially kids, shove things down the ear canal that shouldn’t be there and scratch the skin in the ear canal.  You know the sort of thing I mean – seeds, beads, cotton buds, crayons, pencils, sausages…..Well maybe not sausages, but kids sure can be inventive in what they will fit into their ears! Bacteria can get into the scratched area and cause infection. Doctor’s call this otitis externa, which means infection of the outer ear.

What it feels like

  • The ear will feel really itchy inside or painful.
  • It hurts even more if you pull gently on your ear lobe.
  • There may be some discharge coming out of the ear.
  • There could be a fever or general sickness present.

What you can do

  • See your doctor if you have an earache.
  • Stay away from water until the infection has gone…you still have to shower though!
  • Do not put anything into the ear.
  • Rest.  Let your body have some time to get better.

Stay away from swimmer’s ear

If you are a keen swimmer or like to play in the pool a lot, then there are some things you can do to protect yourself from swimmer’s ear:

  • Wear a swimming cap.
  • Wear earplugs to keep water out of your ear canal.
  • Don’t poke things down your ear.
  • Remember that earwax is there to protect your ears, so don’t try to wash it or clean it all out.



School Nurses’ Office
ISG Dhahran
330-0555 ext.2201/2202