Earaches may seem like just a minor inconvenience, but they can be extremely painful. In the meantime, while waiting for medical attention or antibiotics to work, some home remedies may help. When an earache feels unbearable, it is almost impossible to sleep, eat, or do anything else but think about it. For many children, an earache can be particularly difficult to deal with.
In the case of severe ear pain, people should always seek medical attention, especially if this is the first time they have experienced it. There are, however, home remedies that people can use to relieve less severe earaches.
Inflammatory drugs can alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with an earache, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can temporarily ease the pain. Some medicines people can use to relieve ear pain include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. However, babies and young children should not be given aspirin.
Ear drops can reduce pressure if you have earwax or fluid in your ears. Before you use ear drops on your child, read the instructions carefully. People should only use ear drops for a few days and consult their doctor if symptoms return.
A hot or electric heating pad for 20 minutes can relieve inflammation and ear pain. Touch the neck and throat with the hot pad for the best results. However, the heat pad shouldn’t be unbearably hot, and children should not be permitted to use a hot pack without adult supervision. In addition, people shouldn’t fall asleep with a heating pad.
Wrap ice in paper towels or freeze a cold pack and then cover it with a light cloth to soothe earache pain. Hold this for 20 minutes near the ear and under the ear. Some find that heat offers greater relief than cold. Others find that alternating hot and cold packs (hot for 20 minutes, then cold for 20 minutes) provides the best pain relief.
Exercises that involve rotating the neck can be extremely helpful in alleviating earaches. Consider exercises that involve rotation of the neck for best results. Keeping your feet flat on the ground, sit straight up, slowly rotate your neck and head to the right until your head and shoulder are parallel to each other, turn your head the other way until it is similar to your left shoulder, and raise your shoulders as if you were covering your ears.
If you have ear pain radiating from your jaw or teeth, or a tension headache, gentle massage can help. The tender area can be massaged, as well as the surrounding muscles. For example, try massaging the jaw and neck muscles if your ear area hurts. In addition to treating ear infections, massages may assist in draining excess fluid from your ears, preventing the pain from worsening.
A few sleep positions will exacerbate ear infections, while others relieve them. It is recommended to sleep with your head elevated by using extra pillows, which can help drain the ears faster. Sleep with the hurting ear raised rather than facing down toward the pillow, which can improve the ear drain if necessary.
A folk remedy for earaches is olive oil, but no solid scientific research has proven that olive oil can ease ear pain. But putting a few drops of slightly hot olive oil in the ear is safe and may be moderately effective, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition, you can prevent burning your eardrum by using a thermometer to ensure the olive oil is not too hot then your body temperature.
In folk medicine, garlic is often used as a pain reliever. Some research suggests it has antibacterial properties that can fight and prevent ear infections. Eat a clove of garlic daily. In addition to reducing pain and preventing disease, garlic ear drops may also contain the condition from worsening. Put two or three cloves in two tablespoons of mustard or sesame seed oil and cook until brown, then strain the mixture.
Earache infections and pain can be reduced with onions, just like garlic. Heat an onion in the microwave for a few minutes, then strain the liquid and apply several drops to the ear. It is recommended to lie down for 10 minutes and let the liquid flow out of the ear. Repeat this process as necessary.
Many people have relied on hydrogen peroxide to treat earaches for years. The process involves:
- Placing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in the affected ear.
- Letting it sit for a few minutes.
- Draining it into a sink.
- Rinsing your ears with distilled water afterward.