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home remedies for earaches

Home Remedies For Earaches

There are few ailments more annoying than a persistent earache. It can feel as if your head is about to explode! Let’s go over some home remedies for earaches.

An earache describes any pain felt inside the ear, throat,  between the eye and jawline – sometimes the pain can include these body parts too and be all-encompassing, but can be originating at the ear itself. 

Ear pain can originate at the outer auricle or deep within.

Why Do I Have Earache?

Earache is usually a symptom of a buildup of wax or an infection, but can also be a foreign object stuck in the ear. If you can’t access immediate medical attention, there are some options for managing the pain at home in the short term. 

Never put a foreign object in your ear. Do not attempt to remove anything from your own ear or have a friend scratch around in your ear for you. 

The ear is a sensitive body part and consists of the outer, middle and inner ear. The ear canal of your outer ear is separated from the air-filled tympanic cavity of your middle ear by the eardrum. All of these work together to help you hear, help you balance and much more. Injuring any of these parts is detrimental. 

If you think you have something lodged in your ear, see your doctor as soon as possible. Affinity Health covers you for Network GP visits, so don’t hesitate to get the medical care you need.

Prescribed Medication

If a bacterial ear infection is causing your pain,  the most appropriate treatment requires antibiotics. One of the most commonly prescribed oral antibiotics for ear infections is amoxicillin. 

Your treating clinician may consider Amoxicillin/Clavulanic acid to account for microbial resistance or alternatives such as Azithromycin.  

Your clinician might also give you a medicated ear drop such as ciprofloxacin or acetic acid to clean out an infection of the ear (for middle or outer ear infections). Remember to finish all prescribed antibiotic courses to ensure the infection is eradicated. 

OTC Pain Medication

There are many over-the-counter pain medications that you can use to help soothe an earache. Paracetamol is the most common and should fight any fever or headache that is associated with an infection. NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Ibuprofen can also assist to relieve ear-related pain.

There are also anti-inflammatories in eardrop form that may offer relief. Dry wicking using a clean paper towel can remove any debris or moisture before applying ear drops- to ensure the medicine reaches the target area. It is advisable to tilt the head or lie on your side when using any form of ear drops, to avoid spillage.

Essential Oils

Sweet oil ( a form of olive oil) and almond oil are old folk remedies from many countries, including South Africa. There’s little scientific evidence to prove or disprove that drops of these oils in your ear canal can soothe ear pain However, sweet oil is commonly used to loosen impacted wax in the ear and subsequently help relieve some of the pain. It may also be recommended by your treating doctor to loosen any wax before syringing the ear.

It’s a good idea to discuss this method with your doctor first, especially for children, 

Hot Compress

A warm cloth or heating pad to the ear can ease discomfort. This remedy is sometimes recommended for kids and those who have pain due to impacted earwax. Infections and inflammation may be relieved by cool compresses instead.

Ginger And Garlic

It is very important that you do not put these into the ear canal. However, ginger and garlic promote a healthy immune system. Including them in your diet can help improve your immune system and fight off an infection. 

These ingredients contain antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. 


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