Earaches can be dull and aching, or sharp and be piercing. You might know the cause immediately, but sometimes you might struggle to find out what’s wrong with your kid who’s crying in pain while tugging his/her earlobe.
Although often uncomfortable and debilitating, earaches don’t necessarily require a round of antibiotics. In fact, you can probably find the solution in your kitchen, or in your medicine cabinet.
According to the latest guidelines from the AAP, the treatment of earaches should be focused on pain management, instead of antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics can often cause antibiotic-resistant infections, and usually, ear infections go away on their own.
Earaches can be caused by various reasons, including sinus infections, cavities, teeth grinding, and tonsillitis. The most common ear infection is a middle ear infection, or AOM (acute otitis media). It’s characterized by infected and swollen portions of the middle ear. The AOM pain happens as a result of trapped fluid behind the eardrum. Some of the symptoms are a pain inside the ear, fever, feeling sick, and slight hearing loss. Children and babies can be restless and be pulling at their ears.
Top 10 Home Remedies for Earaches
1. Olive Oil
This oil serves as a lubricant, treating the ear infection quickly, thus offering quick relief from your earache. Olive oil can as well help you stop the buzzing sensation inside your ears. Just pour two to three drops of lukewarm olive oil into your ear canal, as you do with ear drops.
Garlic has antibiotic and analgesic properties which help soothe an earache caused by infection. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil (sesame seed or olive oil are the most common) with a teaspoon of minced garlic. Let it cool before filtering the oil. Put two to three drops of this oil in the affected ear.
The easiest way to use onion for an earache is cutting it in half and placing it over the aching ear. Another way is to warm some onion and tuck it into the ear, provided that it’s not soft. You can either wrap it in a warm, moist, cloth or put the onion directly in your ear. The recommended compress time is ten to fifteen minutes, or until the onion cools.
As an alternative, you can squeeze some onion juice, heat it until warm, and put several drops into your ear.
A great way to relieve your earache is exposing your infected ear on the moist heat. You can create heat packs for your ears in various ways. One way is to place rice or popcorn in small pouch or old sock. Seal and heat in short bursts until warm. If you don’t have a microwave, hot water bubbles are a great option, as long as the water is not too hot.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
As soon as you notice an earache, put some apple cider vinegar in your affected ear, and let it act for a minute. They let it run out of your ear, and repeat after 10-12 hours.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger work great in case of an earache. Squeeze some ginger juice and put several drops into the aching ear. Another way is to heat ¼ cup of sesame oil with a tablespoon of fresh ginger root and apply it topically around the affected ear.
7. Hydrogen Peroxide
Soak a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide, and squeeze several drops into the affected ear. It will dislodge debris, so you can gently irrigate the area afterward using warm water to eliminate the debris.
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of basil are great for relieving earaches. Extract the juice from crushed basil leaves, and put at least two drops of it into the aching ear.
9. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a great way to treat earaches caused by an ear infection. All you need to do is put several drops into the affected ear.
10. Bishop’s Weed
Last but not least, bishop’s weed is one of the best home remedies for relieving earaches. Heat three teaspoons of sesame oil mixed with one teaspoon of bishop’s weed oil, until warm. Put 4 to 5 drops of the warm oil into the affected ear.