Ear infections are relatively common in both adults and children. Indeed, one in ten adults gets an ear infection at least once in their life, with more women getting it than men. The problem is estimated to affect nine in ten children before their third birthday. Also known as otitis media, ear infection is caused by bacteria or viruses in the ear canal. The infection causes pain due to fluid buildup and increased pressure against the eardrum. How to deal with it?
How to Get Rid of Ear Infection
While some cases require medical attention, most ear infections clear on their own. Rest and some home remedies will usually do the trick.
1. Holding a Warm Piece of Cloth over the Ear
Applying a warm compress relieves pain. You can do this in the following ways:
- Dip a piece of cloth in warm water, drain and hold it over the affected ear.
- Microwave a clean sock filled with either rice or beans for about 25 seconds and hold it on the ear.
- Alternatively, do the same with one cup of salt. Heat some salt and put it in a bean bag. Place it on the infected ear while lying down; making sure that the temperature is not too high to make you uncomfortable. The heated salt will draw out any fluid from the infected ear and subsequently reduce pain and swelling.
- Do this for 10-15 minutes every day until the pain subsides.
Garlic is an effective natural remedy for ear infection. It has antimicrobial and antiviral properties. You can use garlic in any of the following ways:
- Start by eating one or two cloves of fresh garlic every day to boost immunity and fight the infection.
- Crush a few cloves of boiled cloves; add some salt before placing them in a clean piece of cloth and putting it on the affected ear.
- Fry some cloves of garlic in mustard oil until they are dark. Strain and leave to cool before putting a few drops into the affected ear using a dropper.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of Mother Nature’s best remedy for a myriad of conditions, including clearing blocked ear canals. When earwax along the ear canal is attacked by fungi or bacteria, it leads to a blockage of the Eustachian tubes and ear infection.
Warm some olive oil over low heat and pour a few drops into the affected ear. The olive oil will melt the solid wax, allowing you to easily pick it out using a cotton swab. Be careful so that you don’t insert the swab too deep; otherwise you might injure your eardrum.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another “how to get rid of ear infection” remedy. It has bacterial and yeast killing properties, lowers blood sugar and has a plethora of other uses around the house.
- To use apple cider vinegar to combat ear infection, mix a tablespoon of ACV and a tablespoon of water and dab a cotton ball in the mixture.
- Place the cotton ball in the affected ear and allow it to sit there for about five minutes.
- Remove and lie on the other side to allow the excess liquid to drain off.
- Additionally, gargle ACV every morning to kill bacteria within the Eustachian tube.
You may substitute white vinegar for ACV if that’s what you have.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an excellent herbal remedy for otitis media besides other conditions. The oil contains antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antiviral properties. A few drops of the oil mixed with olive oil and warmed will bring a significant amount of comfort.
Make sure to turn on the other side to drain the oil after allowing the remedy to act on the sick ear for a few minutes. Repeat this for several days until the infection goes away.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide
How to get rid of ear infection? Hydrogen peroxide can be used to break down the wax that may build up in the Eustachian tubes and increase the risk of infection. Follow the following procedure:
- Mix equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and water in a small bowl.
- Dub a cotton ball in the mixture and squeeze a few drops into the affected ear and leave it in for ten minutes.
- Drain out the liquid.
- Repeat this procedure until the infection clears.
If the earache is too much, it is advisable to take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen. Ibuprofen for children will also come in handy in reducing pain and fever associated with the infection.
Take note of the following before giving pain relievers to children:
- Make sure you got the right dosage for your child and stick to it strictly.
- Do not give pain relievers like ibuprofen to a child who is younger than six months.
- Avoid giving aspirin as a pain reliever to children and infants due to the associated risk factors such as liver damage and Reye’s syndrome.
- Pain relieving medication can bring some degree of comfort.
When to See a Doctor
It is recommended that you see an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor if the pain worsens or does not stop after two days of medication. Your doctor will probably recommend antibiotics to combat the infection.
Seek immediate medical care in case you notice any of the following:
- Stiff, painful neck
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Pus, or blood oozing out of the ear
- High fever, even after taking ibuprofen in an effort of how to get rid of ear infection.
- Painful swelling around the ear
- Tinnitus or noise in the ear
For a child who is below six months, it is best to take him/her to a doctor immediately you notice signs of an ear infection. Do not try any home remedies on infants and small children.
Signs of an Ear Infection to Look Out for in Infants
Since they are young and are not able to express how they are feeling, always be alert for the following symptoms of ear infection:
- Child keeps tugging and pulling at the ear due to the pain and discomfort.
- The baby is crying endlessly.
- The baby has difficulty sleeping.
- The baby has fever.
- Fluid is coming out of the ear.