An ear ache, whether dull or sharp, can be incredibly painful. An ear ache is typically caused by a bacterial or viral infection in the ear, explains Mayo Clinic. However, the root cause of an ear infection is usually linked to another condition like cold, flu, or an allergy. These ailments cause inflammation, congestion, and swelling in the ear, nose, and throat. This is why when you have an earache, you may also suffer from a sore throat or stuffy nose.
Ear infections often improve on their own and do not require medical treatment. However, this does not mean you have to sit around in pain and agony, waiting until the ear ache clears on its own. Like treating a common cold, there are several steps you can take at home to help speed up recovery and relieve painful symptoms.
1. Olive oil. Dr. William Sears of Parenting.com says a few drops of warm olive oil in the ear can soothe the inflammation that causes an earache. This home remedy is safe for both adults and babies.
2. Garlic. The antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial properties of garlic make it a great home remedy that covers all possible causes of an earache, be it viral or bacterial. You can do it the old fashioned way and simply stick a clove of garlic in the infected ear. Or, you can take the advice of Wellness Mama and make a garlic-infused olive oil. To make garlic olive oil, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan. Add 1 clove of fresh, minced garlic to the olive oil and let it sit on low heat for twenty minutes. Once the olive oil has been infused, strain and remove the garlic. Let the mixture cool and then apply two drops of oil directly in the ear.
3. Onion. Kula Mama claims a warm onion or "onion ear muff" is one of the most effective home remedies for soothing the pain of earaches. To make an onion ear muff, slice an onion in half and take out the inner rings. Heat the outer 2 or 3 onion rings in the oven at 300ºF (150ºC). When the rings are warm and slightly steaming, remove and wrap them in a towel. Cup the towel-covered onion over the infected ear. The heat is likely to have a soothing effect on your aching ears.
4. Ginger. This punchy root can help reduce the inflammation that causes an earache. According to the Ginger Community, simply drinking ginger tea can have wonderful effects in the fight against ear infections. You can also make a soothing oil out of ginger juice. To make this home remedy, grate a piece of fresh ginger and crush it to squeeze out the juice. Warm the juice and apply four drops into the infected ear.
5. Apple cider vinegar. This cure-all has the capacity to change the pH level in the ear canal. When you do this, the environment in which the bacteria or virus has grown changes in a way that the invading microbes can no longer survive. They die and so does your ear ache. Livestrong recommends heating apple cider vinegar and then placing a few drops in the aching ear. Cover the ear with cotton and lie down to allow the warm liquid to reach deep into the ear.
6. Honey. Modern Farmer explains a Swedish study has found that honey can be more effective than pharmaceutical antibiotics in fighting a bacteria known to be a common cause of ear infection. Warm honey and apply a few droplets to the infected ear.
7. Coconut oil. Coconut oil can help fight viral infections that cause earaches. Livestrong recommends heating 1/8 cup of coconut oil with 2 cloves of garlic in a small saucepan. Let the oil and garlic simmer together for five minutes. Strain the mixture and then while lying on your side, apply two drops of oil into your ear. Lie still for five minutes. You can use this home remedy twice a day for 7 days or until symptoms disappear.
8. Chewing gum. Sometimes something as simple as chewing gum can relieve the pain and pressure of an ear ache, says Medline Plus.
Next time you or a loved one has an earache, try one of these home remedies. But be careful and proceed with caution anytime you put something inside your ear. You may want to consult your doctor about these and other home treatments.
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