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Ear Infections: How to Spot Them and Ways to Soothe Pain

Bacteria or a virus in the middle ear causes an ear infection. Usually, the infection proceeds an illness such as a cold, flu, or allergy. Fluid in the throat, nasal passages, and Eustachian tubes become lodged in the middle ear, which causes the infection.

It can be easy to identify ear infection in children and adults. The infected ear is painful, especially when lying down. Pulling on the ear or massaging it can relieve some of the pain, but it’s temporary. Ear infection sufferers often have trouble sleeping and feel irritable because of the pain. In severe cases, ear infections can cause fever, loss of balance, hearing loss, headaches, and drainage from the ear.

Sometimes, an ear infection will go away on its own. However, it’s not a condition you should ignore. If symptoms last for more than a day or if a baby 6 months or younger has an ear infection, it’s important to seek care from an audiologist at Hearing & Balance Doctors.

ear_infections_how_to_spot_them_and_ways_to_soothe_pain-1Soothing Mild Ear Infections

If the pain is tolerable and there are no other more serious symptoms, there are some ways to decrease the discomfort.

Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. This can reduce the pain and fever.

Cold or Warm Compresses

Ice packs, heating pads, and damp washcloths can effectively reduce ear pain. Simply place the cold or warm compress on the ear while lying down.

Olive Oil

While this is a folk remedy, the AAP reports it may be effective in soothing the pain of an ear infection. Warm olive oil and place a few drops in the infected ear. It has anti-bacterial properties, so it may work in combatting the infection. If you choose to do this, make sure the oil’s temperature does not exceed 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or it may burn your eardrum.

Chew Gum

Swallowing can open the Eustachian tube and help drain the fluid in the middle ear. Chewing gum makes people swallow more often, which is how it helps ease the pain and possibly treat the condition.

Drink Plenty of Water

Water can help treat the ear infection by flushing the body of the infection. It can also help with draining the fluid from the middle ear, since you have to swallow a lot.

If self-soothing methods do not work, consider contacting us. We can evaluate the ear infection, possibly prescribe an antibiotic, and provide additional care instructions to help ease the discomfort until the infection heals.

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