Everyone gets an earache from time to time, although children more often than adults. An earache usually comes after a bad cold or sore throat and often after you blow your nose and lay down for the night. The reason this happens is because fluids build up in the Eustachian tubes. The fluid becomes infected and builds up in the back of the eardrum and puts pressure on the ear, therefore causing discomfort. An earache often happens at night, causing you to lose sleep because of the pain. If you are experiencing ear pain, pressure, and/or drainage, you should contact your health care provider. If you do have an ear infection, your health care provider is likely to prescribe antibiotics to help your body eliminate the infection. There are things you can do yourself at home to ease the pain caused by an earache.
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Things you need
- Hair dryer or heating pad
- Garlic juice
- Chewing gum
- Mineral oil
- Olive oil
- Hot water bottle
- Microwave safe plate
Hold a hair dryer set on the warm setting a little ways from your ear to allow the warm air to blow in. Do not use the hot setting because you may burn yourself. You may also apply heat to your ear using a heating pad: turn it on warm and lay the side where the earache is on the heating pad. The warm air from the hair dryer and the warm heat from the heating pad will ease the pain. Do not use the blow dryer for more than 3 to 5 minutes.
Puncture a piece of garlic, squeeze the juice out of it, and pour the juice in the ear that hurts. Garlic is known to have a natural antibiotic in it, and using the garlic juice may help the antibiotics to fight the infection.
Put a few drops of olive oil or mineral oil in the sore ear; the oil will act as a lubricant and may help to eliminate dry, itchy symptoms of the ear infection. Warm the oil up like you would a baby's bottle, under the hot tap water for a few minutes. Make sure you test the temperature of the warmed oil before using it in your ear. The warm oil should be at body temperature. Apply it with an ear dropper and only use enough oil to coat the inner lining of the ear.
Wrap a hot water bottle in a towel. Use the towel-wrapped hot water bottle as a pillow by laying the sore ear on it. Again, the heat from the hot water bottle will ease the pain from the sore ear.
Chewing gum (or even food) and swallowing will help to ventilate the Eustachian tube and allow for drainage. This may help to alleviate some pressure caused by the infection in the inner ear.
Tips and warnings
- When suffering from an earache, you are better off sitting up instead of laying down, so prop yourself up until the earache is gone.
- Drinking lots of water or juice will help soothe the symptoms, and the constant swallowing will help clear the Eustachian tubes.
- Take a painkiller if you need to.
- Consult your health care provider.
- If your ear hurts when you chew, it could be caused by something in your jaw. If this is the case, go see the doctor.
- If you see any blood or pus in your ear or have dizzy spells or swelling, consult your health care provider immediately because these could be signs of a severe infection.
- Stay away from the wind if it bothers your ears. Wear a scarf or put cotton in your ears to protect them from the wind.
- Do not use mineral oil (or any other oils) as drops in your ear if you suspect or have been told you have a ruptured ear drum.