4 Home Remedies to Treat Ear Infections
Most doctors wait to see if an ear infection clears up on its own over time. Several studies have indicated that antibiotics may not help in some cases, so doctors typically treat the symptoms of an ear infection until the malady goes away.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers may help reduce pain of an ear infection. This means using a preformulated children's strength medication or dissolving adult tablets to ensure that your child receives the proper dosage for their weight. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help control pain, but avoid giving your child aspirin due to its link to Reye's syndrome in people under the age of 20. Follow dosing instructions on the label of the pain medicine, and follow your doctor's instructions for treating ear infections in extremely young children and babies.
A warm compress over the ear may also lessen pain, especially as you wait for pain relieving medications to start working. A warm washcloth works best. Heat up a dry washcloth in the clothes dryer for a few minutes or in the microwave for 30 seconds, then place the washcloth over the ear. Make sure not to make the washcloth too hot. A moist washcloth with warm water may also work, but you should wring out the washcloth to prevent any excess water from seeping into the infected ear.
Encourage your child to rest and try to get sleep. Sleep encourages the body's natural immune system to fight infections. Have quiet play days at home as your child recovers from the infection. Go through nighttime routines such as story time, book reading, coloring or singing songs to encourage your child to take naps or sleep.
Consult with your doctor regarding ear drops for your child's ear infection. Prescription ear drops may help ease the pain in children whose eardrums are not perforated and for children who do not have tubes in their ears. Warm the bottle of prescription ear drops in warm water and have your child lay down with the infected ear up in the air. Administer the correct dose for your child per your doctor's instructions. Ear drops with benzocaine, a pain reliever, should only be used with a doctor's careful instructions, especially with children under age 2. Over-the-counter ear drops may also provide some relief.
Most ear infections resolve themselves over time, as a common cause of this condition is a viral infection in the middle ear. Children are more likely to get ear infections than adults. Fortunately, parents can use several different home remedies that may lessen the pain and discomfort caused by these ear problems.