How To Treat Earaches
Treating Ear Infections: Adults And Children

treatments for minor conditions


8 Ways To Treat An Earache


What Causes Earaches?
Home Treatments For Earaches
Extra Information

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What Causes Earaches?

Some earaches are caused by the build up of fluids in the ear canal, this condition is called otitis externa or swimmers ear. In otitis externa the tissues of the ear canal become inflamed because of a bacterium, fungal or viral infection. It often develops after swimming because persistent moisture in the ear increases the risk of infection. Symptoms appear over 1 to 2 days and may include itching or pain within the ear canal, pus from the ear and loss of hearing. Children under 5 are most sensitive to earaches, in particular middle ear infections (otitis media). Here, the tissues of the middle ear become inflamed and can cause a bloody pus to leak from the ears. Many cases are probably triggered by food sensitivities, cows milk and milk products being the most common culprits. If symptoms persist, or you develop a fever or the patient is baby under 8 weeks old, see a doctor immediately. A doctor can prescribe medications to treat the pain.

Depending on the type of infection present your doctor may prescribe an eardrop containing an antibiotic or antifungal and/or corticosteroid. If you have a severe bacterial infection a course of oral antibiotics may be prescribed. Most viral infections are only treated with over the counter painkillers. Note: never give children under 18 aspirin, it has been linked to Reye's Syndrome, a rare but devastating disorder that causes liver and brain damage.

The following are some home remedies that have been around for some time. Never use home remedies as a substitute for medical advice, always consult your doctor.

Home Treatments For Earaches

1. Apply Heat
Take a warm hot water bottle and wrap it in a towel. Place it by the ear for quick pain relief. Gently plug your ear with a small bit of cotton to keep it warm.

2. Wiggle The Ear
Pull gently on the ear. It has much the same effect as yawning to relieve pressure in the inner ear and helps trapped fluids to drain.

3. Warm Onion
Warm an onion, take the core and wrap it in muslin. Place it just inside the affected ear. Alternatively squeeze a small amount of onion water into the ear. It acts as a natural decongestant. Warning: Never pour fluids into an ear if you think the eardrum is perforated (broken).

4. Warm Olive Oil
Alternatively place a few drops of warm olive oil in the ear. You can warm the bottle in a bowel of warm water for a few minutes.

5. Steam Inhalation
Pour a teaspoon of eucalyptus, peppermint or menthol oil or a teaspoon of Vicks into a bowel of boiling water then inhale the steam under a towel. Do this for at least 10 minutes, 3 times a day. This will help open the Eustachian tubes in the ear, easing pressure and allowing fluids to leak away.

6. Sinus Rinse
Use a sinus rinse such as NeilMed Sinus Rinse Kit to unblock your nose and relieve pressure in the earl. A saline nasal wash, available in most drug stores, is squirted through one nostril and the solution washes out through the other nostril.

7. Cover The Ear Near Water
Do not go swimming, and plug the ear with cotton before showering or bathing.

8. Homeopathic Remedies
Take homeopathic Hepar Sulph 30c every 3 to 4 hours if you have a pain in the left ear. Take Pulsatilla 30c or Belladonna 30c if you have right ear pain. If you have a sticky discharge try Kali Bic 30c.

Extra Information

1. Maybe it is NOT an earache: I (author of this article) suffered from a persistent earache for over a year and my doctor put me on several courses of antibiotics which had no effect. Eventually I was sent to an Ear and Throat (ENT) specialist who informed me that I didn't have an ear infection at all, but was suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. This disorder is very common and is 4 times more common in women than men. The TMJ is the hinge joint that connects the jaw bone (mandible) to the temporal bone in the skull (which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of the head). The muscles and joints connecting these bones can become tender creating the sensation of a persistent earache. The pain can radiate to the sides of the scalp, the back of the head or into the neck and jaw muscles. Experts believe it is caused by teeth clenching or grinding, particularly at night. Bad posture is another big culprit. I discovered it was my posture, I had developed a habit of leaning into my computer when I typed which was pulling the muscles around my neck. As soon as I fixed my posture, the earaches stopped! The pain comes back from time to time, so it reminds me to address my posture again (ensure I am sitting upright). I also get instant pain relief by applying Deep Heat to my neck and the skin at the back of the affected ear.

2. Smoking: If your child is prone to ear infections, try not to smoke near them. Smoking has been linked to the development of ear infections.

3. Pacifiers (dummies): Children who are given pacifiers are more prone to earaches.

4. Osteopath: Consider seeing a cranial osteopath or chiropractor to check the alignment of your head and neck. Poor alignment can lead to poor fluid drainage from the ears.

5. Allergy testing: If you or your child is prone to ear infections, arrange an allergy test. Food allergies, in particular to dairy products, soy foods, eggs, peanuts, wheat and corn are common triggers for earaches.

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