Earaches are very common in children. They can be caused by allergies, ear infections, cold and windy weather or atmospheric pressure. Although severe infections often require treatment with antibiotics or even surgery, there are a number of home remedies that can help relieve earache pain naturally.
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Treating with Heat or Cold
Putting a heating pad warm compress over the ear can help to relieve pain. An easy way to make such a compress is to put a handful of rice inside an old, clean sock, tie it shut, and heat it in the microwave. You can also use a hair dryer to blow warm (but not hot) air directly into the ear. In some cases cold is also effective for earache pain --- you can try putting a cold pack or cold washcloth over the ear and holding it in place for about 20 minutes if it seems to help relieve the pain.
Oil can be very soothing to an inflamed eardrum. Place a few drops of olive oil, castor oil or mineral oil into your child's ear. If you'd like to combine the heat treatment with the oil treatment you can gently warm the oil first, but be very careful not to make it too hot because that could damage the eardrum.
Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medications
Acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen might help to relieve your child's earache pain. Do not give aspirin to a child or young adult under the age of 20, because aspirin has been linked to Reye's Syndrome, a rare but deadly disease that affects the liver and brain. Over-the-counter eardrops can also be effective, as are prescription drops such as Auralgan.
If your child is old enough to chew gum safely, doing so might help to relieve some of the pressure on his inner ear. Chewing gum is particularly recommended in the case of earaches brought on by riding in an aeroplane. Sucking on candy, yawning, and drinking fluids also help to relieve pressure and can ease ear pain somewhat.
Seeing a Doctor
If your child's earache is severe or persists for more than two days, or if other symptoms, such as dizziness or severe headache are present, you should consult your child's doctor right away. The doctor will try to determine the cause of the earache, and if it is determined that the earache is due to an infection, a course of antibiotics is often be prescribed. If earaches are recurrent, the doctor sometimes performs a simple surgical procedure that involves the insertion of small tubes into the eardrums.
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