Insights From An ENT Specialist
Greetings! I am an ENT Specialist.
First of all, I would like to introduce myself to you.
I was born in Istanbul in 1979. After graduating from Istanbul Faculty of Medicine in 2004, I completed my specialization in the field of Otorhinolaryngology at Istanbul Şişli Etfal Education and Research Hospital. During my specialization, I have been an observer doctor in Germany Cologne University Ear Nose and Throat Clinic.
My area of specialization is mainly pediatric, ear, nose and throat diseases and functional and aesthetic nose surgery, as well as endoscopic sinus and ear surgeries. As a former swimmer and a doctor who supports sports in children from infancy, I will try to answer some frequently asked questions and offer advice, in particular about swimming.
The topic of babies’ swimming has always been a debatable issue. In terms of otorhinolaryngology, babies’ swimming is not harmful when done with the experts.
It is not harmful if water gets into the baby's ear. Anatomically, the ear folds allow the water to be thrown out from the ear itself.
Ear inflammation can occur in contact with unhygienic water, especially when there are scratches that disrupt the integrity of the skin in the external ear canal, otherwise ear inflammation does not develop easily.
The infection that may occur in the ear during swimming is an external ear canal inflammation and this may occur due to the reasons mentioned above. Upon swimming in hygienic waters, the possibility of developing external ear infections is very, very low.
Swimming does not cause otitis media (group of inflammatory diseases of the middle ear). Otitis media mostly develops after bacteria settled in the upper respiratory tract reaches the middle ear via the Eustachian tube.
Children who have frequent otitis media and therefore have a tube in their ear, are able to swim safely with earplugs.
We do not recommend swimming during upper respiratory tract infection, especially in cases of runny nose, sore throat and earache. Swimming can be resumed after the use of medication is discontinued and upon recovery.
Allergic nasal discharge is not an obstacle for swimming as long as it is not severe and does not become severe during swimming. However, I strongly recommend consulting with a doctor and then continuing swimming.
However, we definitely do not recommend swimming if yellow-colored nasal discharge is present. In these cases, swimming can be resumed after treatment.
In regard to all these questions and information, swimming is considered to be a safe sport for ear, nose and throat in all age groups, starting from infancy- as long as it is done in experienced hands and controlled conditions.
OP. DR. Cem ERDURAK
Ear Nose Throat
Head and Neck Surgery Specialist