Earache – what to do? Home remedies & tips

Earache - what to do? Home remedies & tips

Earaches can be highly uncomfortable and can be caused by many different reasons. Inflammation, often caused by bacteria, is particularly often behind the symptoms. What helps against earaches, which home remedies can support healing and which medications are there for earaches? Here’s what to do if you have an earache.

What do you do if you have an earache?

The treatment of an earache depends on the cause of the pain. Here are some possible causes of earache.

Sometimes, home remedies will suffice, especially if the pain is mild. However, home remedies should not be used for severe or long-lasting pain. Depending on the cause, if an earache is treated incorrectly or not, this can have serious consequences, such as long-term hearing loss, facial paralysis or meningitis. Therefore, caution is required in the case of severe and long-lasting pain and accompanying symptoms such as fever, dizziness or hearing loss.

Therefore, you should always seek medical advice early if you have an earache. Depending on the cause, treatment can be carried out with medication or other measures.


Four home remedies for earache

Here are a few well-known home remedies for treating earaches:

  1. Cut an onion into small pieces, put them in a handkerchief, and slowly mash it until it is soaked with juice. Then, place the handkerchief on the diseased ear for half an hour. Alternatively, you can wrap hot, mashed potatoes in a tissue and place them on the sore ear.
  2. Chop the parsley into small pieces, put them in a cloth and put it on the diseased ear. It would help to leave the parsley there for at least half an hour.
  3. Irradiate the painful ear with red light: The distance to the ear should be at least 50 centimetres, and the irradiation should take over 10 minutes. Alternatively, a warm cherry stone pad can be placed on the affected ear. However, if the ear canal is inflamed, this home remedy for earache should not be used, as the ear must be cooled.
  4. Mix fresh mustard flour with warm water to form a paste and spread it on a cloth. Place the fabric behind the sore ear for about 15 minutes. Such a poultice should be applied no more than once a day, and if there is a burning sensation on the skin, it should be removed immediately.

Treat ear pain with medication.

Earaches are often treated with medicines. Since bacteria most often cause earaches, they are often treated with antibiotics. In the case of earache, these are given directly into the ear via drops so that they can fight the bacteria at their site of action.

Pain-relieving ear drops can also be used in addition to antibiotics. When using ear drops, the affected person should ideally lie down. The ear should be pulled back slightly. This straightens the ear canal. After using the ear drops, you should lie still for at least five minutes.

Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can also be used to treat earache. Ibuprofen also has an anti-inflammatory effect.


Further medical treatment

If the ear canal is blocked by a foreign object or a plug of earwax, this must be removed during a doctor’s appointment. A plug of earwax can either be flushed out or sucked out with a suction device.

However, more than external treatment with ear drops or ointments is sometimes needed. In the case of a middle ear infection, for example, the eardrum may have to be opened so that the pus can drain out of the middle ear. This also restores the ventilation of the ear. The procedure is called paracentesis. It usually only takes a few minutes and can be performed under local anaesthesia or, if necessary, general anaesthesia.

Injuries to the eardrum usually heal within two weeks, but the healing process can be aided by external splinting of the eardrum. If a hole in the eardrum does not heal within two months, an artificial eardrum can be surgically inserted.

prevent earache

Earaches cannot be prevented, but you can significantly reduce the risk of earaches with a few tips and tricks.

Proper care of the ear is critical to prevent earaches. It’s essential not to use cotton swabs to clean your ears, as this will either remove too much protective earwax or compress it into a hard plug.

Likewise, the ear should not be cleaned with hard or pointed objects, as these can lead to injuries in the ear. Since the auditory canal usually cleans itself, cleaning the auricle with a damp cloth is sufficient.

In cold temperatures, wearing a hat or headband can be helpful to protect your ears.

Protection of ears from irritation and germs

If you swim frequently, wear a swim cap or earplugs to protect your ears because the skin of the auditory canal is irritated by the chlorine in the bath water. In addition, water in the ears allows bacteria to penetrate faster. You should, therefore, carefully pat your ears dry with a soft cloth after showering or swimming.

If you use earplugs to protect against noise, you should be careful not to push the plugs too hard into your ears and change the plugs regularly. Otherwise, germs can multiply on the plugs and get into the ear the next time you wear them.


Avoid earaches on planes.

If you are exposed to significant changes in air pressure, such as when flying or diving, decongestant nasal sprays can help equalize pressure in the ear. Chewing gum, conscious swallowing and exhaling against the pinched nose can also be helpful. If you have a terrible cold, it is better not to fly or dive.

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