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!
Use Garlic Oil In Your Ear
Lets start with garlic oil for your ear infection. Garlic is one of the best natural remedies for any infection. It holds antibacterial properties that will kill any bacteria found in your body. It also has antifungal and antiviral properties, helping to improve infections that arent necessarily bacterial. Nothing has been able to gain a resistance against this natural remedy.
You can put garlic cloves into your ear, but you can use garlic oil. Opt for the health store varieties rather than from your local grocery store. You want to make sure that the garlic oil is raw and hasnt had other ingredients placed inside it. The other ingredients can limit the garlic from working.
Most childhood ear infections will be viral based and not bacterial. Garlic oil is safe for use in a childs ear in moderation.
The garlic oil will also help to reduce inflammation within the ear. This helps to speed up the process of healing while preventing the infection and inflammation from getting deeper into the ear.
There shouldnt be any pain when using a few drops of garlic ear. You dont want to massage the oil into the ear, either. Just let it sit and do its work and allow it to drip back out naturally.
When To Seek Medical Advice
Most cases of otitis media pass within a few days, so there’s usually no need to see your GP.
However, see your GP if you or your child have:
- symptoms showing no sign of improvement after two or three days
- a lot of pain
- a discharge of pus or fluid from the ear some people develop a persistent and painless ear discharge that lasts for many months, known as chronic suppurative otitis media
- an underlying health condition, such as cystic fibrosis or congenital heart disease, which could make complications more likely
Read more about diagnosing middle ear infections
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How To Cure An Earache
This article was medically reviewed by Victor Catania, MD. Dr. Catania is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Pennsylvania. He received his MD from the Medical University of the Americas in 2012 and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the Robert Packer Hospital. He is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 2,162,350 times.
It has been estimated that as many as 70 percent of children have at least one ear infection by the age of three,XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source and many adults also suffer from ear infections and earache. While serious earaches require medical attention as they can lead to permanent hearing loss, minor problems can often be treated at home using medical advice or home remedies that have been used for centuries. Do not use home remedies as a substitute for medical advice if you are unsure about any advice or procedure, consult a medical practitioner.
Treating Middle Ear Infections
You may be prescribed antibiotics. Some antibiotics may be taken orally. Others can be applied directly to the site of the infection with ear drops. Medications for pain, such as over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used to manage your symptoms.
Another helpful technique is called autoinsufflation. Its meant to help clear your eustachian tubes. You do this by squeezing your nose, closing your mouth, and very gently exhaling. This can send air through the eustachian tubes to help drain them.
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Treating Outer Ear Infections
The outer ear should be carefully cleaned. That should be followed by the application of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory medications on your ear.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if your doctor determines that the infection is bacterial.
If you have a viral infection, you may simply need to tend to the irritation on your ear and wait for the infection to resolve itself. Depending on the type of virus involved, more specialized treatment may be necessary.
How Do I Use It
While theres no clear evidence about the effectiveness of olive oil on its own for common ear problems, its also not associated with any serious health consequences, so you can still try it to see for yourself.
To apply drops to your ear, use a glass dropper or you can dip a cotton swab in olive oil and allow the excess to drip into your ear. Dont put the cotton swab or any other object in your ear.
You can use room-temperature olive oil, though some people prefer to warm it up in a pan over low heat. Make sure to test the temperature on your skin first. The oil should be just slightly warm, not hot.
Follow these instructions to safely apply olive oil to your ears at home:
Tailor the application to your need, and contact your doctor if you arent seeing the desired results:
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Trying Unverified Home Remedies
Two Home Remedies For Earaches That Are Best Left On The Shelf
1.OTC numbing drops
Dr. Nguyen-Huynh recommendsavoiding numbing drops. The effect is very brief, and sometimes it does theopposite and stings the ear.
Be it garlic, tea tree or olive people swear by putting oil in the ear to help with ear infections. Whilegarlic does have antibacterial properties, Dr. Nguyen-Huynh urges caution. If youreusing it for a middle ear infection, it wont get to the source of the problem.And even if you do have a hole in your eardrum, there arent studies showingits safe to put garlic in there.
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Anatomy Of An Ear Infection
The ear is divided into the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Infection can occur in any of these areas, but bacterial infections of the inner ear are extremely rare.
Different types of germs can cause infections in the ear, including bacteria, viruses, and even fungi. Infections can be brought on by an illness, such as a cold or allergies.
Ear infections generally occur when a germ gains entry into one of the three areas of the ear and grows there.
What Are Some Home Remedies For Ear Infections
Not a lot of evidence exists to support these treatments, so its always a good idea to consult your doctor before trying any of them.
Not a lot of evidence exists to support these treatments, so its always a good idea to consult your doctor before trying any of them.
Ear infections can be painful. Sometimes they cause a persistent dull pain other times a sharp burning feeling comes and goes. Most of the time, theyre not anything to worry about. Except that youll want the pain to cease.
Here is an overview of traditional approaches to treatment, plus everything you need to know about at-home remedies.
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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.
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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When Else Are Antibiotics Needed
Antibiotics can be the right treatment for kids who get a lot of ear infections. Their doctors might prescribe daily antibiotics to help prevent future infections. And younger children or those with more severe illness may need antibiotics right from the start.
The “wait-and-see” approach also might not apply to children with other concerns, such as cleft palate, genetic conditions such as Down syndrome, or other illnesses such as immune system disorders.
It Might Not Cure Cancer But
Some research suggests that eating garlic may help prevent certain kinds of cancer, reports the National Cancer Institute. For example, studies have found a link between a diet rich in garlic and lower risk of stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast cancers.
While this research is promising, no clinical trials have explored the potential cancer-fighting perks of a garlic-rich diet, warns the
NCCIH . It can thin your blood, which may be risky if you have a bleeding disorder or upcoming surgery. It can also interfere with saquinavir, a drug used to treat HIV. Ask your doctor for more information about potential risks and side effects of taking garlic for your health.
Although the strong garlic flavor can be wonderful in food, you may not love its effects on your breath. To help ward off bad breath from garlic, eat it with an apple or a mix of apple vinegar and water with honey. A lemon wedge may also do the trick.
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What Causes Middle Ear Infections
Most middle ear infections occur when an infection such as a cold, leads to a build-up of mucus in the middle ear and causes the Eustachian tube to become swollen or blocked.
This mean mucus can’t drain away properly, making it easier for an infection to spread into the middle ear.
An enlarged adenoid can also block the Eustachian tube. The adenoid can be removed if it causes persistent or frequent ear infections. Read more about removing adenoids.
Younger children are particularly vulnerable to middle ear infections as:
- the Eustachian tube is smaller in children than in adults
- a child’s adenoids are relatively much larger than an adults
Certain conditions can also increase the risk of middle ear infections, including:
- having a cleft palate a type of birth defect where a child has a split in the roof of their mouth
- having Down’s syndrome a genetic condition that typically causes some level of learning disability and a characteristic range of physical features
When To See A Doctor For An Earache
Sometimes no amount of self-care or over-the-counter medication can help an ear infection. Knowing when to see a doctor can help further complications from developing.
If your earache is severe or accompanied by other symptoms such as a fever or hearing loss, you should see a doctor. You might be referred to an ear, nose, and throat doctor.
In some cases, people with a chronic ear infection may need to have surgery. Doctors can put small tubes into the eardrum that will help prevent ear infections. The tubes allow air to flow into the middle ear and fluid to drain.
Leaving an ear infection untreated can cause the infection to spread or cause permanent problems with balance and hearing loss.
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Earache Remedies For Kids
Since children are especially prone to ear infections, given their smaller eustachian tubes, there are some medications on the market specifically for earaches in kids. Drugstores sell pain-relieving eardrops that can help your child feel better if their earache is due to a cold or flu, swimmers ear, or allergies.
In addition, childrens formula acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used as earache remedies to help ease discomfort from inflammation in kids 6 months or older. Be sure to consult your childs pediatrician before giving an kind ofanti-inflammatory medication and avoid aspirin for children under 16.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Contact your provider if:
- You have swelling behind the ear.
- Your symptoms get worse, even with treatment.
- You have high fever or severe pain.
- Severe pain suddenly stops, which may indicate a ruptured eardrum.
- New symptoms appear, especially severe headache, dizziness, swelling around the ear, or twitching of the face muscles.
Let the provider know right away if a child younger than 6 months has a fever, even if the child doesn’t have other symptoms.
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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.
More Ear Infection Remedies
Top Foods for Ear Infections
- Water: Helps maintain hydration and clear out mucus.
- Wild-caught fish: Omega-3 fats found in wild-caught fish help to reduce inflammation.
- Non-dairy baby formula: If a baby drinks formula, I recommend switching to coconut or goats milk-based formulas which tend to cause fewer allergies. However, breast-feeding is most ideal.
- Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C: Keeps immune system strong, which helps the bodys ability to ward off infection.
Foods to Avoid
- Potential food allergens: Some common allergens include conventional dairy, gluten, shrimp and peanuts.
- Conventional dairy: Pasteurized-cow dairy products can be mucus-producing and worsen infection.
- Sugar: Reduces immune function and encourages inflammation.
- Processed foods: These foods may contain added chemicals and dyes that young children can be sensitive to.
Supplement Ear Infection Remedies
- Garlic oil ear drops Garlic oil is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
- Zinc Zinc boosts immune function and promotes healing.
- Vitamin C Vitamin C enhances immune function and lowers inflammation.
- Vitamin D3 Vitamin D3 helps support the immune system.
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About Middle Ear Infections
Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear that causes inflammation and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum.
Anyone can develop a middle ear infection but infants between six and 15 months old are most commonly affected.
It’s estimated that around one in every four children experience at least one middle ear infection by the time they’re 10 years old.