If you have ever suffered from an earache, you know the pain can be excruciating. Earaches often result from plugged eustachian tubes, which go from your throat to your middle ear. Having a cold or allergy usually will aggravate an earache. It is not a myth that earaches are worse at night. At night, while you lie down, the eustachian tubes do not drain properly. Before spending a large amount of money on prescriptions, there are a few home remedies and over-the counter medications you should try.
Peppermint oil-Place a few drops of peppermint oil on a Q-Tip, apply the swab to the outside of your ear and drop the oil into your ear canal. This will cause a tingling sensation. Many people have found relief using peppermint oil.
Hydrogen peroxide-Lie down with the affected ear facing upward. Place two to three drops of hydrogen peroxide into the aching ear. Stay in this position for about five minutes. The peroxide has a drying quality and often will absorb excess moisture that may be causing the earache.
Hair dryer-Because earaches often are caused by excess moisture in the ear, turn on a hair dryer at its lowest setting and hold it 18 to 20 inches from your affected ear for about three minutes. Drying up excess moisture in the ear often is all it takes to stop an earache.
Hot face cloth-While it may not treat the cause of your earache, a hot face cloth applied to the ear that hurts is effective in immediately reducing the pain. Heat the face cloth until it is hot, but not to the point it burns skin. Lie still with the affected ear upward, apply the hot face cloth and you should feel relief within minutes.
Several over-the-counter medications are available to relieve earache pain. Because many earaches are the symptom of allergies or colds, an allergy medication may help in relieving the earache. You also can buy Swimmer’s Ear ear drops, which are mostly alcohol based. The alcohol helps dry excess moisture in the ear. For pain, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Never give children aspirin if fever is involved because of the risk of Reye syndrome.
When to Call a Doctor
If home remedies or over-the-counter medications do not relieve the earache within 48 hours, or if fever, redness or swelling is present, consult your physician. If you experience severe pain that suddenly stops, that could be a sign of a ruptured eardrum, and medical attention is necessary to prevent loss of hearing.