Safe And Effective Ways Treat A Middle Ear Infection
This article was co-authored by Laura Marusinec, MD. Dr. Marusinec is a board certified Pediatrician at the Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin, where she is on the Clinical Practice Council. She received her M.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine in 1995 and completed her residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Pediatrics in 1998. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Society for Pediatric Urgent Care.There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 518,314 times.
Middle ear infections are fairly common in childhood. One of every 10 children will experience otitis media, the medical term for middle ear infection, every year. This is 10 times the number of adults who will suffer from a middle ear infection.XResearch source Otitis media is the second leading cause of doctors visits in children and and the most frequent reason for antibiotic prescription in children.
Do Olive Oil And Garlic Also Help Against Earache
Garlic in the ear is an alternative to the onion for ear pain. Cut it into small pieces, heat it slightly and wrap it in a cloth before placing it directly on the ear. It is also possible to squeeze the juice out of the toes and drizzle the cloth with it so that the garlic can work against ear pain.
However, slightly warmed olive oil that is dripped directly into the ear is not recommended. With a perforated eardrum, this home remedy can even make the symptoms worse. In addition, germs can get into the ear with the oil or cause burns if the ear is treated with heat at the same time.
Ear Infection Home Remedies
Ear infections are very common, especially in children, and can often cause discomfort and pain.
The most common type of ear infection is called a middle ear infection, or otitis media, and almost half of children will have three or more middle ear infections before their third birthday.
A slightly less common type of infection is otitis externa, an infection of the outer ear that is often called swimmers ear.
Not all ear infections, whether they are middle or external ear infections, require antibiotics. Depending on the cause of your infection, your doctor or pediatrician may recommend home remedies that can help soothe your symptoms.
In this article, Ill describe different home remedies for ear infections.
Ill also discuss whether or not ear infections require antibiotics, and when you should reach out to your doctor or pediatrician for further evaluation.
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Remedies For Inner Ear Infections
Do you need antibiotics?
If you have a bacterial inner ear infection, you may need an antibiotic. However, most inner ear infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Antibiotics arent effective against viral infections. For viral infections, your doctor will suggest treatment options to control your inflammation and help with your symptoms.
What treatments can help?
If you have a viral inner ear infection, your doctor may prescribe a steroid treatment to reduce inflammation or antiviral medication to attack the virus.
What are some inner ear infection home remedies?
Besides medication, there are steps you can take at home to ease the symptoms of an inner ear infection. For example:
- Keep your head upright as much as possible. Sitting or standing can help to drain the ear.
- Apply a warm compress to the affected ear to relieve pain.
- Avoid smoking and drink as little alcohol as possible.
- Reduce your stress levels, since tension can worsen symptoms.
For labyrinthitis, specifically, to combat dizziness and nausea, you can try:
- Resting in a dark, quiet place
- Drinking plenty of water, especially if your nausea leads to vomiting
- Keeping your vision focused in one place instead of glancing around at your surroundings
- Going for walks as soon as you feel you can, with someone for support until you get your balance back
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Give Warm Or Cold Compresses A Go
One of the best ways of treating an ear infection at home is to give a warm or cold compress a go. Try a warm, damp washcloth or a heating pad to relieve your ear pain.
You can use both a warm and a cold compress and for best results, be sure to alternate between both. Keep the compress on for approximately ten minutes. It is an excellent pain relief method for individuals of all ages.
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Home Remedies For Ear Pain
Earaches can cause debilitating pain, making it difficult to sleep, eat, and drink. The most common cause of ear pain is ear infections. When the ear becomes infected, inflammation and pressure can cause intense pain. However, earaches are not always caused by an ear infection. Other common conditions that cause earaches include:
- Air pressure
- Skin infections
- Allergic reactions
When symptoms of an ear problem are present and do not resolve on their own within a few days, you should speak to a doctor. If an earache is not severe, you may wish to try home remedies to relieve pain. Here are some effective remedies to treat your earache:
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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Stages Of An Ear Infection
Mild, moderate or severe infection depends on various factors including age, general health & immunity of individual. There are no clearly defined stages of an ear infection, but a worsening of symptoms can indicate that the condition is advancing & may lead to complications/ sequelae. If your symptoms persist & are interfering with your quality of life, seek medical care early.
How To Choose A Product
Its important to choose a high-quality olive oil if youre using it for medicinal purposes. When choosing an olive oil, look for extra virgin olive oil. This type of olive oil isnt chemically processed, .
You can also purchase olive oilbased herbal ear drops. These contain extracts from medicinal plants, such as garlic, that might provide added benefits. You can purchase these drops on .
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How Do Vets Treat Ear Infections
Antibiotic drops, anti-inflammatory medicines, ointments, antiseptic solutions, and local anesthetic agents are all used by veterinarians to treat guinea pig ear infections. The use of these medications is determined by the infections condition and severity.
The vet will prescribe drugs to treat a guinea pig ear infection caused by a respiratory condition such as pneumonia. The secondary infection can easily be treated once its root cause is removed.
AMBER NATURALZ Ear Care Herbal Ear drops for pets, 1 ounce
What Does The Start Of An Ear Infection Feel Like
What Does the Start of an Ear Infection Feel Like?: Symptoms of ear infections may include ear pain, itching and irritation in and around the ear, discharge from the ear , feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear, scaly skin in and around the ear, ringing in the ear , difficulty hearing/hearing loss, spinning sensation , nausea, vomiting, fever, feeling unwell , and loss of energy. …
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Ear Infections Need The Vet
Home remedies for ear infections often just dont work. They can irritate and damage your pets ears, and sometimes even make an infection worse.
Please dont put this stuff in your pets ears
If youve search online, you may find home remedies for dog ear infections like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol. These are all bad ideas, because they can irritate the inside of the ear and invite more infection.
- Vinegar Sure, the acid in vinegar might kill yeast, but vinegar is mostly water. And that water will leave your dogs ear canal moist, creating the perfect environment for an ear infection.
- Hydrogen peroxideHydrogen peroxide is also mostly water. Once the initial bubbling stops , whats left in the ear is water.
- Rubbing alcoholRubbing alcohol will cause nearly unbearable irritation in your dogs ears, which will be awful to watch and make it even harder for you or your vet to get anywhere near your pets ears for treatment.
Never put anything in your dogs ear without veterinary instruction. Your veterinary team can help you find the ideal treatment to treat the infection and give your dog much-needed relief.
Get to the bottom of all that ear scratching
What Type Of Ear Infection Is It
There are two common types of ear infections:
- Otitis media: This ear infection affects the middle ear . Middle ear infections are common in kids and tend to cause trouble hearing, fevers, and pain without much outward signs such as ear drainage or swelling.
- Otitis externa: This infection affects the ear canal, and is commonly known as swimmers ear because water exposure is a risk factor for it. Swimmers ear is painful, too, and tends to have more visible signs such as a swollen ear canal or pus drainage.
There are several home remedies for earaches, says Dr. Nguyen-Huynh. Try these for the first two or three days if symptoms are mild.
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Ear Infection Risks & Complications
If left untreated, ear infections can lead to medical complications like:
- Mastoiditis: This is a rare inflammation of a bone close to the ear. It is a serious bacterial infection that is more common in children than adults. Invasive measures need to be taken to treat mastoiditis including surgical draining of the middle ear & mastoid air cells from the bone.
- Perforated Eardrum: A serious ear infection can lead to a damaged or ruptured eardrum, causing hearing loss, ear discharge, & earache. Perforated eardrums may heal on their own if infection is kept in check by early intervention but in some cases will need surgery to repair the eardrum / small bones of the ear to improve/restore hearing.
- Loss of Hearing: Ear infections cause a buildup of fluid in the ear, resulting in temporary but, in some cases, potentially long term hearing loss.
- Chronic Vertigo: Vertigo or impaired balance can be caused by a viral infection. Usually it is temporary but may be recurrent if the treatment is delayed.
In Everyday Life Ear Infections Can Be Caused By:
- Excessive ear cleaning – the most common cause is scratching, trauma during cleaning.
- Changes in air pressure or weather – Sudden pressure changes can injure the ear drum especially during rapid descent of flight/ rapid ascent during professional/ recreational diving which can cause bleeding & /or rupture of ear drum that can get infected.
- In children faulty position during feeding as well as upper respiratory infection can cause infection in middle ear which is dangerous & distressing to the child.
- Upper respiratory tract infections- often occurring during a cold or flu.
- Swimming in contaminated water.
- Gyms Parlors Use of ear buds/ ear plugs/mufflers.
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Try Out Apple Cider Vinegar
Another ingredient that has been used in herbal remedies for centuries is apple cider vinegar. This is an excellent option when the reason for the infection is fungus growing in or around your ear. The vinegar is acidic and will kill off the bad that is collected within the ear. It is also full of other nutrients that will support the immune system and reduce inflammation in your ear.
The great news is you dont just necessarily need apple cider vinegar. You can use white or distilled vinegar. However, you will want to get apple cider vinegar as much as possible.
Depending on where the infection is, you wont necessarily want to put the vinegar directly into the ear. This can cause some discomfort. If you are going to place it directly into the ear, make sure you dilute the vinegar with some water.
The best thing to do would be to put the diluted vinegar onto some cotton wool and create an ear plug with it. Place this in your ear and allow the liquid to get to work. You only need the ear plug for five minutes. You can then use a hair dryer to dry out the ear, but do make sure your setting is as low as possible to avoid damage to the ear drum.
Another option is to massage the diluted vinegar around the ear, allowing the skin to soak it in. If you have sensitive skin, you can find this becomes an irritant.
Latest Infectious Disease News
Antibiotics and outer ear infections
- The most recent policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages pain management and not antibiotics as the initial approach to most outer and middle ear infections. Since outer ear infections are generally bacterial in cause, this type of ear infection can be prevented by avoiding prolonged ear canal immersion.
- Antibiotic eardrops have been shown to accelerate the healing process in swimmers ear, but avoiding prolonged water in the ear canal also is highly recommended. Rarely, severe cases of swimmers ear will cause the ear canal tissue become swollen shut. To treat this, an ear wick is placed in the ear to allow the antibiotic eardrops into the narrowed ear canal. Oral antibiotics often are used in severe cases.
Antibiotics and middle ear infections
Antibiotics and inner ear infections
- Inner ear infections are rare, and usually need to be treated by an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist.
If you have an ear infection in which antibiotics are not prescribed, follow up for re-evaluation by the doctor is important.
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Is It Safe To Use
While olive oil is generally safe, there are a few precautions you should take when using it in your ears.
Dont use olive oil or any other product in the ear if you have a ruptured ear drum. If youre not sure if you have a ruptured ear drum, see your doctor before using any remedy in your ear, including natural remedies.
Dont place cotton swabs or any other object inside the ear to remove wax or relieve itching. This can easily damage your ear drum or push wax deeper into your ear. Putting cotton swabs in your ear also increases your risk of developing an ear infection. Its also responsible for sending thousands of children to the emergency room with ear injuries each year.
Finally, make sure to use only room-temperature or just slightly warmed olive oil to avoid burning the delicate skin in your ear.
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.
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Preventing An Earache Before It Starts
Want to protect against ear infections in the first place? Your surest bet is to prevent the spread of germs that can lead to infection.
Make sure your child receives the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine , since pneumococcal bacteria is the most common cause of an ear infection.
Also, breastfeeding for at least 6 months has shown to boost the babys immune system, helping to prevent sickness.
More generally to prevent earaches, you should keep your home smoke-free and practice healthy everyday habits like handwashing.
These methods will not only protect against ear infections but a whole host of illnesses you and your family are much better without!
What Happens If Ear Infection Is Left Untreated
Untreated chronic ear infections can also cause tears in the eardrum. These tears will typically heal within a few days, though in more extreme cases, surgical repair might be required. The other primary risk of leaving an ear infection untreated is that the infection could spread beyond the ear. …
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Is A Dog Ear Infection An Emergency
If your dog’s head is tilted or it seems to be hearing less than usual, it is possible that the infection may have migrated into the middle or inner ear and the tympanic membrane may have ruptured. This is therefore a more urgent condition.
A swollen, red, warm ear is also more worrying, as it could be an ear hematoma.
Such symptoms should be discussed with a vet.