Swimmer's ear -- an infection and inflammation of the ear canal -- is a common problem of summer. Here are some tips from pediatricians:

Dry off. Immediately after swimming, dry your outer ear thoroughly with a soft towel or cloth.

Tilt your head. Help water run out of your ears by turning your head from side to side and pulling your earlobes.

Don't dig inside. Digging in the ear canal with a hard object can cut your skin, making you more vulnerable to infection. Even using cotton-tipped sticks will disrupt the natural wax coating that protects against germs.

Try earplugs. Specially designed temporary plugs can help keep moisture out of the ear canal. Ask your doctor about them.

Use eardrops. Over-the-counter antiseptic drops can help dry out the ear canal after swimming. Some people also use a mix of alcohol and white vinegar. If you have frequent infections, your doctor might recommend trying lanolin ear drops before swimming.

Avoid polluted water. Stick to clean, well-maintained pools. Be wary of lakes and ponds.

Know the symptoms. Swimmer's ear can cause ear pain, itching, a sensation of fullness in the ear canal, swollen lymph nodes, reddening of the outer ear, discomfort while chewing, fever and a discharge that may be clear, cloudy or yellowish.

Call a doctor. You'll need a prescription medication to heal swimmer's ear, often antibiotic drops. The sooner you start treatment, the better.


Support your bones The fight against osteoporosis, in which bones lose their density and are more prone to fractures, actually starts in childhood. The disease, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), has been called "a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences."

Bones are like a bank account saving for your kids' education, the NIAMS says. The more calcium kids put away when they're young, the longer their bone strength should last as they get older.

Proper nutrition and plenty of physical activity are key. Encourage your kids to drink lots of milk. But they can get calcium from other foods, too, including cheese; yogurt; dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, almonds and tortillas. Other foods, such as tofu, cereals, breads and juices, have calcium added.