A Problem With Your Jaw
Earache is occasionally caused by a problem with the joint of your jaw bone . This is known as temporomandibular joint pain and can be caused by problems such as arthritis or teeth grinding.
Jaw pain can often be treated with painkillers, warm or cold compresses, and trying not to clench your jaw and grind your teeth.
Symptoms Of Ear Infection
Generally, the onset of signs and symptoms is rapid in the case of ear infection. These symptoms may include:
- Experiencing headache and fever all the time
- Sharp and prickling ear pain experienced in the lying posture
- Drainage of watery substance or thick fluid from the ear passage
- Difficulty in sleeping because of the sharp shooting pain in the ear
- Difficulty in hearing the sounds and thus responding poorly to others
Small children usually cry and scream due to severe intolerable pain in their ear due to infection. They may lose their appetite and usually refuse to eat.
Causes Of A Middle Ear Infection
Middle ear infections are caused by viruses and bacteria, often resulting from other conditions that can cause blockage and swelling of the eustachian tubes that connect the throat and the middle ear. When this happens, a vacuum is created, allowing germs and fluid from the throat to enter the middle ear. A middle ear infection develops when bacteria or viruses grow in this fluid.
Children are more susceptible to middle ear infections than adults, partly because their eustachian tubes are narrower, so they are more easily blocked. Children also have relatively larger adenoids than adults. These are masses of tissue situated at the point where the nose bends into the throat that are vulnerable to infection, swelling and inflammation Ã¢â¬â when this happens, they can block the eustachian tubes and cause a middle ear infection.
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Earache: When To See A Doctor
If the ears are inflamed and no home remedies help, it may be time to go to the doctor with earache. In the case of long-lasting pain, suspected otitis media or injuries, a visit to the doctor is imperative. This clarifies the cause of the earache and gives advice on relief. If infants or young children are affected by ear pain, parents should consult their doctor.
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How To Prevent Ear Infections
If you are prone to getting recurring ear infections, you may be able to prevent them. If you have allergies, use effective allergy treatments to prevent ear infections from developing. Wash your hands regularly, especially during cold and flu season.
Dont smoke and avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible. Smoking and secondhand smoke both contribute to the incidence of ear infections. In addition, keep up with your vaccinations, including the flu vaccine.
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External Causes Of Ear Pain
Sometimes a pain in the ear is not because there is a problem with the ear itself. Instead, the pain is felt in the ear even though the issue is somewhere else .
Common causes of referred ear pain include:
- Dental problems: A dental abscess or tooth infection causes a throbbing sensation in the affected area of the mouth and can also be felt in the ear.
- Throat infection:Sore throats can make it painful to swallow, and the discomfort can be felt up in the ear as well. Sometimes an earache is a sign of a throat infection, such as tonsillitis.
- Temporomandibular joint syndrome: Pain in the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull can sometimes be felt in your ear.
- Chew gum or yawn to help your ears “pop.”
- Hold a cold or warm compress to the outer ear for 15 minutes at a time .
- Perform neck and jaw exercises that rotate the neck and move the jaw.
- Sit in an upright position.
- Take a hot bath or shower to loosen congestion.
Beyond Home Remedies For Ear Infections
Ear infections typically clear up in a week or two. If your pain lasts longer than a week or your fever wont go away, seek medical help.
That goes the same for children. If they have a fever that lasts longer than a day or if theyre under two years old, talk to your pediatrician.
We hope these home remedies for ear infections help you with your pain. If you still need more guidance, reach out to us at any time.
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Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your childs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Treatment for an Ear Infection
Any Other Words Of Advice For Adults Regarding Ear Infections
Dr. Wang: Do not stick anything in your ears! Also, if you have diabetes, be very careful with ear infections. They might be much more persistent, painful and treatment resistant. If this happens to you, really prioritize getting your blood sugar under control, because that can greatly affect your bodys ability to shake the infection.
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Cold Or Warm Compresses
People often use ice packs or warm compresses, like a heating pad or damp washcloth, to relieve pain. The same can be done for ear pain. This method is safe for both children and adults.
Place the ice pack or warm compress over the ear and alternate between warm and cold after 10 minutes. If you prefer either cold or warm, you can use just one compress.
Whats The Difference Between The Middle Ear Infections We Get As Children Versus The Middle Ear Infections We Get As Adults
Dr. Wang: The underlying causes are usually different. They are more frequent in children because their shorter, more horizontal Eustachian tubes are more likely to get blocked. Also, their adenoids are larger compared to the rest of the throat and can interfere with the opening of the Eustachian tubes. And finally, childrens immune systems are immature and colds and viruses are often passed around day care and school.
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When To See A Doctor About An Earache
Dr. Nguyen-Huynh recommends seeing a doctor if:
- Yoursymptoms remain after twoor three days, even if youve tried over-the-counter or home remedies.
- Yourear is very painful, oryou have other symptoms that bother you.
Other common conditions, such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction , can masquerade as earache infections. TMJ causes ear pain because the ear canal and the jaw joint share a nerve. If you have ear pain along with trouble chewing, talking or yawning, then you should see a dentist or TMJ expert to be sure youre treating the right condition, notes Dr. Nguyen-Huynh.
The good news? Hot and cold compresses and OTC pain relievers can also help relieve TMJ pain until you sort things out.
Home Remedies For Ear Infections
While ear infections are more common in children, people of any age can get them.
Because ear infections often clear up on their own, healthcare professionals are hesitant to jump to prescribing antibiotics as a first course of treatment unless the infection is severe, the child is very young, or there are other mitigating circumstances.
This has many people turning to home remedies for ear infections. Many home remedy recommendationsoften passed from one person to another through word of mouthare not backed by scientific evidence and may even be harmful. It’s important to evaluate home remedy recommendations for ear infections for accuracy and safety before trying them out. And as always, when in doubt, ask your healthcare provider.
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How To Use Them
The dosage, type, and frequency of doses depend on the type of medication, the age of the person, their weight, and other mitigating factors such as medical history.
If a child is under age 2 or has never taken this medication before, contact their healthcare provider before administering it.
For children and adults, follow the directions on the package carefully.
Middle Ear Infection Faqs
Q: Are there any home remedies for treating a middle ear infection?A: There are a variety of natural remedies for treating a middle ear infection. These treatment methods may provide some immediate relief, however, a doctor should also be consulted in cases where symptoms persist for more that a couple of days. Remedies include:
- Salt: Heat salt in a pan, wrap it in a cloth and place the cloth against the affected ear for up to ten minutes. This should help draw out fluid from the ear and provide some relief
- Garlic or onions: The antimicrobial properties of garlic and onions give them natural pain relieving qualities. Garlic can be eaten raw. Alternatively, it can be boiled and crushed, then wrapped in a cloth and placed against the ear. It can also be cooked in sesame or mustard oil until black, strained and applied to the ears in drops
- Olive oil: Slightly heat the olive oil and apply a few drop to the ears
- Warm compress: Heat a cloth to a bearable level and place against the outer ear
Q: Are middle ear infections contagious?A: Middle ear infections are not contagious or spreading. However, part of their causes, like viral infections are contagious and spread from person to person.
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How Can I Manage My Symptoms
- Apply heat on your ear for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day or as directed. You can apply heat with an electric heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm compress. Always put a cloth between your skin and the heat pack to prevent burns. Heat helps decrease pain.
- Apply ice on your ear for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day for 2 days or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your ear. Ice decreases swelling and pain.
Ear Pain: What To Do In Young Ears
Ear pain is common in children. However, since they are more sensitive than adults, some home remedies for ear pain in children need caution. For example, essential oils contained in mustard irritate the skin, which is why they should only be used sparingly. Onion wraps offer a gentle way to treat earache in toddlers. The warmth of a lukewarm cherry stone pillow also helps. Children often do not want the ear that hurts to be touched. In this case, a red light lamp can help, which warms the ear from a distance. However, this type of treatment may only take place under the supervision of adults. If there is suspicion of otitis media, an ENT doctor should be consulted to clarify the causes and explain treatment options to parents.
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Otitis Media: Which Home Remedies Help
Children between the ages of six months and six years are particularly often affected by otitis media. The reason for this is, among other things, their short ear trumpet, which swells when there is inflammation, which means that pressure equalization and the outflow of liquids cannot take place as usual. But adults can also be affected by the spontaneously occurring disease. The use of a red light lamp and onions have proven themselves as home remedies for middle ear infections. But even a drained and cooled chamomile tea bag has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Treating Middle Ear Infections
Mild cases of infection can be treated quickly with paracetamol . Do not give regular paracetamol medicine for more than 24 hours without seeking advice from your doctor. It will help if you raise the head of your child’s bed.Some middle ear infections lead to the condition known as glue ear, when thick fluid in the middle ear causes slight deafness. This is not permanent, but it may need treatment. This can include antibiotics and surgery to insert pressure-equalising tubes in the ear drums. Children with glue ear usually recover in a few weeks after the fluid has drained away.
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How To Get Rid Of An Earache Fast
It doesnt matter how old you are earaches hurt. And since most earaches are not the result of a bacterial infection, antibiotics wont help get you better.
But you dont have to take a wait-and-see approach.
There are several earache treatment methods that can help to reduce your symptoms, including the pain and swelling youre experiencing.
Which Specialties Of Doctors Treat Earaches And Ear Pain
Earaches and ear pain are very common symptoms, and may be evaluated and cared for by most primary care providers, including family practice specialists, pediatrician, and internal medicine specialists. Urgent care and emergency medicine doctors also evaluate ear pain. Otolaryngologists are able to care for ear issues and are able to perform surgery on all parts of the ear and face.
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Cause Of Ear Infections
- A bacterial infection of the middle ear
- Blocked eustachian tube, usually as part of a common cold. The eustachian tube joins the middle ear to the back of the throat.
- Blockage results in middle ear fluid .
- If the fluid becomes infected , the fluid turns to pus. This causes the eardrum to bulge out and can cause a lot of pain.
- Ear infections peak at age 6 months to 2 years. They are a common problem until age 8.
- The onset of ear infections is often on day 3 of a cold.
- How often do kids get ear infections? 90% of children have at least 1 ear infection. Frequent ear infections occur in 20% of children. Ear infections are the most common bacterial infection of young children.
Could Sauna Be The Best Way To Naturally Cure An Ear Infection
During a recent trip to Southern California, after a body surfing session, where I got bounced around from all directions, I found myself with water in my right ear that just wouldnt release. For days, my right ear was plugged and eventually became painful.
A smarter person would get to the pharmacy for some ear drops or an antibiotic, but a more stubborn person just tried to forget it and grind it out, hopefully healing myself.
Plane touching down in Minneapolis, I closed my eyes and creatively visualized the path home to fire up my backyard sauna. That evening, I had a great three round sauna session, getting rid of airplane juice, meditating with a fresh shave in the hot room, and untangling some wires in my head.
I went to bed in my upright and locked position. Next morning, I feel my right ear: pain is mostly gone. Whats better? My ear has opened up. A good chunk of ear wax released .
My ear feels better now.
I am reliving the deep, intense heat, coupled with some steam, and when I close my eyes I see the words natural remedy.
Could a sauna session be the best way to clean out our ears and get rid of an ear infection?
Sounds good to me.
Gene: Thanks for your thoughtful, knowledgeable response and tips. I say humble in that I know you are a renowned physician yet you dont wave that title as part of your name. PSWhen can we Sauna Talk? Real soon now, were going to be met with brrrr temperatures and great 612 Sauna weather!
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Earache Remedies You Can Try
1. Hot or cold compress
The skinny: Grab an ice or heat pack and put it onthe affected ear to help with the pain.
Doctors advice: The temperature you use is up to you. Wrap it in a towel tomake sure its not too cold or too hot. You dont want to cause any burns.
2.Over-the-counter pain relievers
The skinny: Pain relievers work as advertised, helping take the edge off the pain.
Doctors advice:Both adults and kids can rest easier when they take acetaminophen or ibuprofen at the right dosage. These medications reduce pain and fever, making you feel more comfortable.
3. Sleep position
The skinny: How you sleep can affect ear pain. Rest with your head on two or more pillows, so the affected ear is higher than the rest of your body. Or if the left ear has an infection, sleep on your right side. Less pressure = less ear pain.
Doctors advice: It could be effective, though a few inches may not make a big difference in pressure measurement. But if it makes you feel better, go for it.