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While most ear infections go away on their own, there are a few home treatments that can assist, such as using a hot or cold compress, taking over-the-counter pain medicines, or changing your sleeping position.
“There are various home cures for earaches,” explains Anh Nguyen-Huynh, MD, an ENT-otolaryngologist. “If your symptoms are minimal, try them for the first two or three days.”
Dr. Nguyen-Huynh explains how some of these over-the-counter medicines work, what to avoid, and when to seek medical help.
Earache cures at home
It can be inconvenient to have a lingering pain in your ear, but one of these home treatments can help reduce the discomfort.
Compresses, hot or cold
To relieve pain, apply an ice or heat pack to the afflicted ear. It’s entirely up to you what temperature you use. However, make sure you wrapin a towel so it doesn’t become too cold or hot. It’s possible that you’ll get burned if it’s too hot.
Every 10 minutes, alternate between a cold and a warm compress.
Pain remedies sold over-the-counter (OTC)
Agony medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen do exactly what they say they’ll do: they take the edge off the pain.
When adults and children take acetaminophen or ibuprofen in the proper dosage, they can sleep better. These drugs help you feel better by reducing pain and temperature.
If you’re on antibiotics, you can even take over-the-counter pain medicines.
Position for sleeping
Ear pain might be influenced by how you sleep. Place two or more cushions under your head so that your affected ear is higher than the rest of your body. Sleep on your right side if you have infection on your left ear.
Ear discomfort is reduced when there is less pressure in the ear. Though a few inches may not make a significant difference in pressure measurement, it could be useful. However, if it makes you feel better, go ahead and do it.
Other treatments that may be beneficial
Other at-home therapies that might help include:
Exercises for the neck. The pressure in your ear canal might be relieved by rotating and stretching your neck.
Ginger. Ginger juice applied around the outer ear canal (not in the ear canal) may relieve discomfort due to its anti-inflammatory qualities.
Peroxide (H2O2). Using a dropper, put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear. Allow it to drip into a sink after a few minutes. Rinse your ear with water.
All treatments aren’t created equal. Dr. Nguyen-Huynh advises against using these at-home ear infection cures.
People swear by putting oil in their ears to aid with ear infections, whether it’s garlic, tea tree, or olive.
Despite the fact that garlic has antimicrobial characteristics, Dr. Nguyen-Huynh advises care. It won’t get to the source of a middle ear infection if you use it for that. Even if you do have a hole in your eardrum, there are no studies indicating that putting garlic in it is safe.
Numbing drops sold over the counter
Dr. Nguyen-Huynh also advises against using over-the-counter numbing drops, which contain benzocaine to dull the pain and antipyrine to help with pain and inflammation reduction.
“The effect is fleeting, and it occasionally has the opposite effect, stinging the ear,” he explains.
When should you see your doctor?
If you have any of the following symptoms, Dr. Nguyen-Huynh advises that you see your doctor:
Even if you’ve tried over-the-counter or home cures, your symptoms persist after two or three days.
Your ear is in excruciating pain, or you’re experiencing other symptoms that are bothering you.
You have a temperature of more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius)Source Cleveland Clinic