Connecticut Children’s pediatric ear, nose and throat team shares summer safety tips to keep the ears, nose and throat in tip-top shape for kids of all ages. 

Tips to Keep Ears Healthy in Summer

It seems like a no-brainer: check for signs of ear infection, don’t stick objects in the ears, and avoid sitting front stage at rock concerts, but there’s more:

1. Be more careful than you’d think when swimming.
Water can get trapped in your ears and cause an infection called otitis externa or swimmer’s ear. Here are some tips to help prevent this.

  • While swimmer’s ear may be less likely to occur with pool or ocean swimming, we know swimming in lakes or ponds can be fun, too.  If swimming in lakes or ponds, check with town officials regarding bacteria levels.  There may also be warning signs for closure until bacteria levels are safe.
  • If swimmer’s ear is a recurring problem, you could consider using a hair dryer on low to dry the ear canals after swimming.
  • If your child has ear tubes, consider ear plug use for ponds or small bodies of water only.  Your child does not need ear plugs in a pool unless they swim 6 feet under the water.  
  • If your child has hearing aids, take extra care to keep them clean and dry, if needed.

2. ENTs don’t like cotton swabs. Neither should you. 
These ever-popular inventions just push wax and other dirt deeper into the ear canals. We don’t recommend them for anyone. Instead, clean the ears using a damp cloth with some gentle soap and water. If you’re concerned about wax buildup, call your doctor. 

3. Be smart about loud noises and use the right equipment.
Here’s how you can get great sounds without damaging the ears:

  • Keep the headphone volume no higher than 70 to 80 percent. Better yet, change the settings so the volume never goes higher than that. 
  • Check to make sure the headphones fit well, whether in the canal or in the ear.  

Want more articles like this from pediatric experts you trust?

Sign up for our newsletter.

Tips to Keep the Nose Healthy in Summer

Allergies and other irritants can drag out well into summer and make the nose feel all kinds of discomfort. The key is to keep the nose moisturized- and get to the bottom of what might be bugging it. Here are some thoughts:

1. Don’t pick it, tempting as it may be. 
Call attention to your child’s nose-picking when you can. Picking the nose can actually damage the delicate skin inside and lead to infection or to nosebleeds

2. Dry or humid air? Invest in some affordable equipment. 
Dry one day, humid the next: can’t win, or can you? 

  • Humidifiers can work wonders for dry, irritated nasal passages during a drought. 
  • On the flip side, air conditioning is great for unbearable humidity, or if needed, a dehumidifier. 

Follow the instructions exactly on how to maintain and keep the devices clean to avoid mold growth. 

3. Endlessly runny nose? See a doctor.
It could be allergic rhinitis, the medical term for seasonal nasal allergies.  

Tips to Keep the Throat Healthy in Summer

1. Keep kids away from grills and smoke.
Aside from the obvious life-saving reasons to keep them away from flame and heat, smoke can also irritate their throat. This is likely to make things uncomfortable for asthma- and allergy-prone kids, so have them keep a reasonable distance.

2. Recent strep infection? Change the toothbrush. 
Cases of strep throat and recurrent strep throat can occur even in the summer months. One way to prevent it from coming back, have your kids throw away their toothbrush on day three of antibiotics. 

Would you like to schedule an appointment for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) care?

A Final ENT Safety Tip for Summer

Watch out for small parts in summer toys.

Remember to keep small objects, especially button batteries secured and stored away from children. Find out what could happen if your child swallows or ingests a button battery.  Keep an eye on any toys all year ‘round.  

The same goes for those dazzling, gel-like water beads which can be dangerous if placed in an ear, nose, or if swallowed.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your ears, nose, and throat healthy this summer. Have a fun and safe summer!