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J Otolaryngol. 1984 Oct;13(5):305-8.

Post-myringotomy care: a prospective study.


Children with tympanostomy tubes have always been considered somewhat handicapped in regard to swimming and bathing. Their parents had to maintain constant surveillance to prevent then from getting water in their ears. A prospective study involving more than 1,000 children was conducted between June 1981 and August 1982 on two groups of randomly selected patients to determine the prevalence of suppurative otitis media and its relationship to bathing and swimming. One group had to follow strict rules to prevent water entering the ear (bathing caps, earplugs) whereas the other group was allowed to bathe and swim without any precaution upon the condition of using a polymyxin B/gramicidin ear drop combination at bedtime on the day they swam. The study shows no increase in prevalence of suppurative otitis media in the "open canal" group as compared to the "closed canal" group. Furthermore, the monthly distribution of infections shows a relatively evan distribution throughout the year. This study implies that swimming and bathing are safe for the vast majority of children with tympanostomy tubes and thus simplifies enormously the post-myringotomy care for the child, the parents, and the physician.

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