Ear infections can happen to anyone, but they occur more commonly in children than in adults. More than just a buildup of wax, an ear infection is most often inflammation of the middle ear. It is sometimes known as otitis media and is caused by bacteria or a virus and is usually present after a cold or flu. Inflammation of the eustachian tube causes a significant amount of pressure and pain, sometimes resulting in leakage of fluid from the ear. Sometimes an ear infection can even lead to a ruptured eardrum, which takes much longer to heal than the infection. Here are some excellent remedies, both medical and natural, that may help relieve and eliminate and ear infection.
An ear infection usually will go away after 24 to 48 hours. However, if an ear infection is not getting better after 2 to 3 days, talk with your doctor about a course of antibiotics. If the infection is quite severe, or if it has progressively been getting worse since it first came on, the doctor may put you on antibiotics immediately. Hearing loss and pressure are also telltale signs you should see a doctor about your earache. Antibiotics for children may cause many side effects, both short and long-term.
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help to fight an ear infection by reducing fever and swelling. Over-the-counter antihistamines reduce swelling and fluid in the ear, but they do cause significant drowsiness. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or you are trying to relieve the pain of your child's infection, please do not use aspirin or ibuprofen.
A warm pack on any inflamed area often soothes the pain. With inner ear infections, the heat and steam increase blood circulation, thereby relieving pain. Use either a hot water bottle wrapped in a cloth, a seed bag warmed in the oven or microwave or even a warm, damp washcloth. Apply this pack to your ear until the pack becomes cool.
Saltwater can help an infection in the sinuses by cleansing the ear, nose and throat connections. Spraying salt water up your nostrils eases congestion and helps get rid of the buildup of fluid, which can be the cause of an ear infection. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of lukewarm water, and apply this mixture through an eyedropper or nose sprayer. Wait one or two minutes before gently blowing your nose. You are essentially draining your nasal cavity of buildup and flushing it out with salt water. This relieves pressure in the ear canals, too. Don't drop salt water directly into your ear.
It sounds too simple, but the healing attributes of salt can't be ignored. A salt sack is also a wonderful remedy for an earache. Pack one clean, thick athletic sock with 2 cups of coarse sea salt, and tie the end in a tight knot. Warm the salt sock in a clean, dry pan over medium heat for just 5 minutes. Place the sock over the ear and jawbone, and the pain should lessen or subside.
Surprisingly, lying down when you have an ear infection can often hinder recovery. Keeping your head and neck straight is beneficial for drainage and clearing of the ear and nasal passages. If you combine this time with some meditation or concentrated breathing, you may find your entire body feels more connected and aligned. Standing and walking straight is another way to determine if your ear infection has also turned into a balance disorder.
Chiropractic treatment can be hugely beneficial for someone with an earache. A misalignment of the spine and neck can not only affect the way a body heals but may keep you unbalanced for longer. While chiropractic sessions do not cure an ear infection directly, they can help your body heal faster by making sure all your nerve and energy pathways are free and clear for you to fight off infection.
Olive oil dropped into your ear may help clear up any excess ear wax blocking the eustachian tubes, and it will also act as a protective layer, preventing viruses and bacteria that could lead to further infection. Olive oil has an abundance of healing and antibacterial properties, and it can also help to soothe the stretched tissues of the inner ear when an infection is in place. Dib;t use oil drops, however, if the eardrum has ruptured. Drop a few drops of lukewarm olive oil from a dropper into the infected ear. Plug the ears with cotton wool, and start to massage around the outer ear. Remove the cotton wool after a couple of minutes, wipe away excess oil, and lie down on the treated ear.
The act of swallowing can relieve the ears as it helps drain fluid trapped in the eustachian tubes. Drink fluids regularly, focusing on water and herbal teas and staying away from any sugary drinks, coffee, and alcohol. If your child has the infection, offer them water. Babies and toddlers don't always recognize when they are thirsty and may not be able to communicate it to you, so keep offering them water periodically until the infection passes.
If ear infections are persistent in your child or the infection has caused serious complications in the ear, consider surgery. A doctor can insert a tube through a small hole in the eardrum to drain out water, pus or blood can drain out. This procedure will greatly reduce pain, and it may also cut down on the number of infections your child has. The inserted tube usually falls out naturally after about six to 18 months. In children, this surgery must be done in a hospital under a general anesthetic. Local general practitioners can perform the procedure on adults in their clinic, sometimes with the patient awake and use a localized anesthetic.
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