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Treat, Prevent Swimmer’s Ear

June 26, 2008

By Karen Shideler, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.

Jun. 26–Summer means swimming, which often means swimmer’s ear, an outer ear infection. It happens when water gets trapped in the ear canal, breaking down the natural defenses against bacteria and fungi and giving them a chance to grow.

You (or your child) might notice pain in one ear, itching or a feeling of fullness. You can ease the achiness with a dose of ibuprofen and a warm washcloth held against the ear. Mayo Clinic and Parenting magazine recommend calling your doctor if the pain is unbearable, if you have cloudy drainage from the ear or if you have a fever.

To prevent swimmer’s ear, tip your head to each side after swimming, then dry your ears. Ear drops made of one part white vinegar and one part rubbing alcohol, used before and after swimming, also help.

Get ready for a marathon

Is trying a marathon on your fitness to-do list?

First Gear is starting a new training class for people who want to run a marathon or half-marathon in the fall. The classes will meet at 7 a.m. Saturdays, beginning July 19, at Health Strategies, 551 N. Hillside. The 30-minute classes, on topics such as injury prevention, shoes, cross-training and apparel, are followed by running.

Students will get a personalized training schedule. The cost is $75 for first-timers and $65 for past participants. For more information or to enroll, call First Gear at 316-264-5500.

That’s a lot of piercings

One in 10 adults in England has a piercing someplace other than the ear lobe, and one in 100 piercings has resulted in a hospital admission, according to the journal BMJ Online First.

The researchers said women were three times more likely than men to have a piercing, and nearly half of the 16- to 24-year-old women who were surveyed had them. Of all the piercings, the navel was the most popular site, followed by nose, ear, tongue, nipple, eyebrow, lip and genital.

For women, navel piercing was by far the most popular; for men, it was nipples.

The most common problems with piercings were swelling, infection and bleeding. Nearly half of tongue piercings resulted in complications.

The researchers surveyed 10,503 people for the study.

Keeping kids healthy

The use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers along with disinfecting frequently touched surfaces helps reduce illness-related absenteeism in elementary schools, say researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston.

The study involved 285 third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students in two Ohio school buildings. Teachers in half the classrooms used disinfecting wipes on student desks, and students used hand sanitizer throughout the school day. The other half of the classrooms followed procedures.

Absentee rates for gastrointestinal illnesses — though not for respiratory illnesses — were 9 percent lower in classrooms that followed the infection control procedures.

Reach Karen Shideler at 316-268-6674 or kshideler@wichitaeagle.com.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.

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