What home remedies can relieve earaches?
Most earaches are not medical emergencies and can often be treated at home. You can try one or a few of the following remedies before visiting a doctor
- Warm compresses: Warm compresses held against the back of the ear can help relieve the inflammation and pain. Take care, as you may spill the water into the ear.
- Cool compresses: If a warm compress does not help relieve the earache, a cool compress or a cloth dipped in cool water can be held against your ear. Do not apply ice.
- Pain medications: Analgesic pills, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol), can be taken if you do not have any other health conditions. Ask your doctor if you are not sure.
- Hydrate yourself: Drink plenty of water or energy drinks.
- Humidifier: You can steam your nose from a safe distance to help the sinuses drain and the ear tube to open. This can help with an earache. Caution is essential with hot water.
- Ear drops: You can visit a pharmacy for drops to dissolve the ear wax that is stuck in your ear canal.
- Chew a piece of gum or yawn: Simple things like chewing gum or yawning may be helpful in easing pressure within the middle ear. You can hear a popping sound, which means the pressure inside has released and you can expect to get relief from your ear pain.
- Suck on a candy: Earaches that happen due to changes in altitude while traveling in a plane can be effectively relieved by sucking on a candy or putting earplugs or cotton in your ears.
- Nasal spray: A saline nasal spray or oxymetazoline (Afrin) nasal spray can be used in addition to steam to relieve sinusitis-related earache.
- Let the affected ear be higher than the rest of your body by placing two-three pillows under your head. If the left ear has an infection, sleep on your right side and vice versa.Try an alternate sleeping position: You can use several different types of self-care measures to treat earache at home.
How can you prevent earaches?
You can prevent earaches by identifying their cause. Some of the preventive tips include
- Carefully drying the ears after swimming or bathing (you can hold a hair dryer at a safe distance).
- Shaking your head to drain out excess water in the ear.
- Wearing earplugs while swimming.
- Avoiding the use of your fingernails or objects, such as paper clips or bobby pins, to remove wax from your ears. Instead, get the excess wax removed regularly by a healthcare professional.
- Protecting infants from the cold by wrapping their heads in warm caps.
- Swallowing frequently while on a plane.
When should you see a doctor for your earache?
Remember that home remedies are not a one-stop solution to your earache. They may provide temporary relief. If the earache does not subside within 1 to 2 days, it is better to consult a doctor who can examine your ear and find out the root cause of the pain. If you have any of the following other conditions, visit a doctor instead of relying on home remedies
- Fluid (such as pus or blood) oozing out of your ear
- High fever
- An object that is stuck in your ear
- Swelling behind your ear
- Feeling of facial muscle weakness on the side of the affected ear
- Severe ear pain that suddenly stops (it could be a ruptured eardrum)
- Ear ringing
- Reduced hearing in the affected ear
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