How to Stop an Earache

Earaches are a troublesome condition that can ruin an otherwise great day. It has been estimated that nearly 70% of children will get an ear infection at least once by the time they are 3 years old. Earaches and ear infections are common in adults as well.

Serious earaches do require medical attention as they may lead to permanent hearing loss if left untreated. On the other hand, minor issues can be easily treated with home remedies that have in use for centuries. However, home remedies are not a substitute for medical treatments and advice. If you are not sure about any advice on how to stop an earache, you must contact a medical practitioner immediately.

Tips for Stopping Earaches

1. Use Heat for the Pain

Make a warm compress by dipping a cloth in hot water and wringing out the excess water. Alternatively, you can use a heat pack or hot water bottle. The compress should be warm but not scalding hot.

  • Apply the warm compress directly on your ear for as long as you're comfortable with.
  • Or you can first place a bag of ice on the ear for 15 mins and follow it up with the warm compress for a further 15 mins. Repeat up to 3 times.
  • Another way is to use a blow dryer under the "low" setting to blow warm air. However, keep the blower an arm away from your ear and never try the "high" setting.

2. Use Over-The-Counter Medicines

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen will be useful in such cases. Make sure that you follow the dosage and instructions given on the packaging. For children, the dosage generally depends on weight. However, you must never give children below 18 any aspirin. Contact a doctor instead.

3. Inhale Steam for Comfort

Steam can help to drain the fluids present in the Eustachian tubes and thereby bring relief from pressure in the inner ear. You may add some scents or certain medications as a gentle anesthetic for the pain.

  • You can prepare the steam by adding a little Vicks or a few drops of eucalyptus oil to water that is almost boiling. Inhale the steam with a towel covering your head 3 times a day to get rid of the pain. 
  • Never do this for a child to avoid any burns. Seek other methods on how to stop an earache. For example, you can first apply some Vicks BabyRub on your baby's back or chest, then make a room of steam by turning on the shower and play with your little one in the steam.

4. Avoid the Common Cold

The common cold is a common cause of earache. As such, you need to protect yourself from it. You need to wash your hands regularly or use a hand sanitizer. Do this especially when you visit public spaces. Boost your immunity through regular exercise. Make sure your diet is balanced and rich in vitamins by including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, etc.

5. Apply Lavender Oil

Lavender oil must not be applied to the ear directly. Instead, you should massage the outside of the ear with it by adding a few drops to a carrier oil such as olive oil. It is believed to bring better drainage in the inner ear and improve circulation. Alternatives include rosemary, thyme, eucalyptus and chamomile.

6. Apply Olive Oil

Olive oil can act as a lubricant and eliminate infections in the year. It can also prevent buzzing sensations in the ear. Use 3 to 4 drops of lukewarm olive to put into the ear canal. Alternatively, you can wet a cotton ear bud in this oil for application inside the ear.

7. Apply Garlic

Garlic has excellent antibiotic and analgesic properties making it a good solution for how to stop an earache. Mince 1 tsp. of garlic and take 2 tbsp. of sesame oil. Heat them together and then cool the oil. Filter it and apply 2 to 3 drops into the ailing ear. Alternatively, you can extract garlic juice and apply a few drops into the ear that is aching.

8. Apply Onion

Onion has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Take 1 tbsp. of onion juice and warm it over low heat. Apply a few drops into the ear 2 to 3 times every day. Alternatively, take a fresh onion and cut it. Wrap it in a clean cloth and keep it over the ear for up to 10 minutes. Repeat multiple times in a day.

9. Apply Ginger

Ginger has good anti-inflammatory properties. Extract the juice from a fresh piece of ginger and apply a few drops directly. Mix freshly grated ginger and olive root and leave it for 10 mins to allow infusion to take place before applying it directly.

10. Apply Peppermint

Extract the juice of fresh peppermint leaves and apply a few drops in the ear directly. If you have peppermint oil, you can use a cotton swab for application to the ear opening externally. Make sure that it does not enter the ear. Olive oil can be used for diluting it if necessary.

When Should You Visit a Doctor?

You need to visit a doctor immediately on how to stop an earache if:

  • Your symptoms last for over 5 days (or over 2 days for children).
  • You have a stiff neck.
  • You have fever.
  • Immediate medical attention should be sought if your child is less than 8 weeks old.

If earaches are not treated, they can develop into serious infections and other complications. For a bacterial infection, a course of antibiotics will be prescribed for stopping the infection and analgesics for the pain. If not treated, ear infections can cause permanent hearing loss. Seek treatment for persistent conditions or if symptoms worsen.

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